Waco: School Board approves offer to hire next superintendent

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WACO, Texas (KWTX) The Waco School Board approved an offer to hire Dr. Susan Kincannon as the district's next superintendent with a 5-2 vote Thursday evening.

Belton Superintendent Dr. Susan Kincannon is the sole finalist for the Waco ISD superintendent's job. (BISD photo)

Her contract runs from September 5, 2019 to June 30, 2022 with an annual salary of $252,500.

Her predecessor, Dr. Marcus Nelson, who resigned in March following a misdemeanor drug charge, was making $272,000 a year.

Kincannon was selected as the finalist from among 84 applicants earlier this month.

Kincannon is a graduate Copperas Cove High School who received a bachelor’s degree from the University of Mary Hardin-Baylor, a master’s degree in educational administration from Tarleton State University, and a doctorate in curriculum and instruction from Baylor University.

Prior to becoming the Waco ISD Superintendent, Kincannon served as the Belton ISD superintendent where Angela Tekell, President of the Waco ISD Board of Trustees, serves as the district's attorney.

"For more than ten years, Kincannon has been my colleague and become my friend," said Tekell. "Ten of the 12 years, she was my boss."

Tekell said she was upfront from the start of the superintendent search process about her connections to Kincannon, and said there was no conflict of interest.

Two members of the audience disagreed and addressed the board prior to the vote.

"When I find out about the personal and business ties that the president of the board has with the candidate, that brings about concerns for me because it brings about an ethical issue for me, and it brings about an integrity issue for me," said Anita Phillips, a former WISD student who has pulled her kids out of the district. "She's not used to a district of this magnitude."

A father of four WISD students also spoke out against Kincannon's hiring.

"I am somewhat upset because in this very room, at the close of last school year, I sat here with many community members and was asked the question 'what were we looking for in the superintendent?' The things that we shared are not reflective of the superintendent that has been selected," said Marlin Jones.

Tekell addressed the crowd in Kincannon's defense.

"There's more than meets the eye, and over the last week especially, assumptions have been made about who this woman is based on how she looks and where she comes from," said Tekell.

The dissenting votes on the board came from Stephanie Ybarra Korteweg and Norman Manning, with at least Manning disapproving of the professional and personal relationship between Tekell and Kincannon.

"I'm sorry, but she is not the person for WISD," said Manning.

Tekell strongly disagrees, saying Kincannon, who has more than 30 years of experience in public education, was the best candidate for the job.

"Proven success as a superintendent is critical, and a deep understanding of curriculum and instruction is also critical," said Tekell.
"Dr. Kincannon has both, she has both to degree that was unmatched by any other applicant."

Kincannon believes, because of their history, Tekell will be harder on her than anyone else.

"I would say that she might have higher expectations for me than anyone else," said Kincannon.

Trying to live up to her expectations, Kincannon plans to 'hit the ground running' as soon as she officially takes over the district next Thursday.

"I want to spend the next three weeks on campuses really walking the hallways and getting to see the students and teachers and facilities," she said.