Admin offers praise for new superintendent
September 2, 2022
Excited and supportive with a clear vision.
Those are words Rider High School Administrative staff used to describe Dr. Donny Lee, the new superintendent of Wichita Falls ISD.
The Wichita Falls School District Board of Trustees officially hired Dr. Donny Lee on July 25 as the 22nd superintendent for WFISD. Lee comes to Wichita Falls from a small town in southeast Texas, Buna.
Lee replaced Michael Kuhrt, who resigned in April while the district’s budget fell short, got involved in an uproar over the drop in enrollment and handling the reductions of the WFISD staff employees.
Not only that, but the district will also soon transition from three high schools to two with the opening of Memorial and Legacy in 2024-25.
Rider principal Dr. Cody Blair said Lee has already been on campus a couple times.
“He seems like a great leader,” Blair said. “He has a really great approach that feels like it’ll help our schools, teachers and help all of our students in their academics, so we’re really excited to have him.”
Assistant principal Falesha Wood feels Lee will be a good fit for our district.
“He is instruction-minded so we are instruction driven,” Wood said. “He’s already made some changes that kind of prove that he means business.”
Change can be both exciting and scary at the same time. However, assistant principal TiAda Radtke is excited to see what Lee brings to the table.
“He has a clear vision of what his asspectation are and his needs,” Radtke said.
Radtke feels like Rider High School is already doing certain things on this campus that Lee mentioned he’d like for the district.
“We got things going in a pretty good direction here, so I don’t foresee a huge change at our campus,” Radtke said.
Wood said Lee comes from a background of diversity which helps him resonate with the students.
“It kind of takes one to know one. He is very empathetic, and that is a quality that helps him be a good listener,” Wood said.
Wood feels Lee could win over the staff by supporting campus personnel and listening to their needs.
“We’re in a time where we’re already shorthanded, kids are different and we need support more than ever from our downtown staff,” Wood said.
One of Wood’s biggest questions is how will Lee help with finding and preserving new teachers and staff among all campuses to be CILs, instructional specialists or new leaders on campus.
“What are we doing to locate those people or try to help them in their leadership pathways?” Wood said.
Radtke is excited to see what this year brings.
“He seems very involved and he wants to obviously correct some issues that we had within our district,” Radtke said. “I do like the message he sent out for the district and all our personnel, and I think it’s a good fit for our district right now.”