Thursday, April 12, 2012 , Updated 1:21 p.m., April 12, 2012
UPDATED: Plano ISD picks Richard Matkin as new superintendent
Plano ISD chose to hire from within.
After a nationwide search, Plano ISD found its new leader right in its own backyard. And judging by the early reactions, the choice of Richard Matkin is a popular one among Plano ISD staff.
Matkin, who has served as the interim superintendent since February 1, received a one-minute standing ovation from the overflow crowd at the Plano ISD Administration Building Thursday morning following the announcement. When he is officially hired after a state-mandated 21-day waiting period, he will succeed Dr. Doug Otto, who led the district for 17 years before retiring in January.
"I am appreciative of the kind of remarks that were made, but more than that, the daily support that I have received from the board," Matkin said. "I am very confident that we are going to be able to go to that next level."
The thought of following in the footsteps of Otto, as well as Dr. Wayne Hendrick, whose three-decade stint as superintendent ended in 1991, is a humbling one, Matkin said. He described Hendrick as a pillar in the community, and credited Otto with keeping Plano ISD at the forefront of instruction and technology. He said he was overwhelmed when he was offered the position, but feels it is the top job in the state and is ready to accept the challenge.
"We have some big challenges ahead in public education, like all school districts do," Matkin said. "We think we are going to be at the front of that and we think we can accomplish the things we strive to accomplish on a daily basis in the classroom."
Matkin, who served as the associate superintendent for business services, came to Plano ISD in 2001 after stints in several area districts including Carrollton-Farmers Branch and Duncanville. As Plano ISD's chief financial officer, Matkin has been front and center during the recent budgeting process, which required the district to cut $24 million from the 2011-2012 budget to make up for a loss in state funding. Matkin and his staff were also key in the board's recent decisions to alter the attendance zones of Plano West High School and Huffman Elementary.
Board President Tammy Richards said that during the process of evaluating the 28 applicants, Matkin stood out above the other candidates.
"As we went through the interviewing process, we realized there was one person who could lead this district and that was Richard Matkin," she said. "He has the heart of an educator. He cares about teaching and kids. The fact that he actually served as an Algebra I teacher and a coach shows that he is dedicated to education. We are thrilled that he is going to be at the head of Plano ISD."
Trustee Michael Friedman, who has served on the board since May 2011, said he was confident in the decision to hire Matkin and was happy to see that those in attendance agreed with the decision.
"Just by the sheer standing ovation, it shows what we collectively came to realize, that for our kids and the community, we have selected a home run," he said. "It has been a pleasure to work with Richard in the time I have been a trustee and he is perfect for this job and will absolutely take this community to the next generation."
Also present at the announcement were a number of members of the Plano City Council and city staff. City Manager Bruce Glasscock said a strong school district is key to the city's economic development efforts and that he was happy with the board's decision.
"I have been here 20 years and had the opportunity to work with both Dr. Hendrick and with Doug," Glasscock said. "I have known Richard for years and have had the opportunity to work with him, and I think we will continue to strengthen the relationship between the city and district. I don't think they could have picked a better person to lead the district."
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