Trustees find 'best fit' for KISD

Lone finalist for new superintendent has extensive background in Texas schools

KISD trustee vote unanimously to offer Dr. Andy Baker of Edgewood ISD the superintendency of KISD Friday night. After narrowing down a search pool of over 70 applicants, trustees interviewed six until a finalist was chosen. Baker will be offered the job after 21 days in accordance with state law.
KISD trustee vote unanimously to offer Dr. Andy Baker of Edgewood ISD the superintendency of KISD Friday night. After narrowing down a search pool of over 70 applicants, trustees interviewed six until a finalist was chosen. Baker will be offered the job after 21 days in accordance with state law.
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Kilgore ISD’s finalist for the superintendent position has deep roots in Texas education.

Dr. Andy Baker was appointed the lone finalist at a special board meeting Friday, Nov. 30 on a unanimous school board vote. Trustees reached their decision after a weeks-long process narrowing an original list of over 70 applicants.

Following the vote, KISD board president Reggie Henson said the board felt Baker was the right choice for the job.

“We felt like he was the best fit for our district. We had some great candidates but we felt like he was the best fit,” Henson said.

Baker is superintendent of Edgewood ISD in Van Zandt County, a position he has held since 2011. Before Edgewood, Baker was superintendent of Tioga ISD in Tioga, about an hour north of Dallas, from 2009 to 2011. Prior to that, Baker held several positions at Prosper ISD in Prosper, including campus principal, high school and middle school assistant principal, government and economics teacher and boys basketball coach from 2001 to 2009. He also taught history and coached basketball at Valley View ISD, Collinsville ISD and Kemp ISD between 1994 and 2001.

Baker earned a bachelor’s degree in history from Dallas University in 1992. He earned a master’s degree in education administration from Southeastern Oklahoma State University in 2003 and a superintendent certificate from Texas Women’s College in 2007. He recently earned his doctoral degree in educational leadership from the University of North Texas in 2017.

Edgewood ISD earned high marks from the state during Baker’s tenure as superintendent. According to TXSchools.org, the district earned a B rating overall from the Texas Education Administration for the 2017-18 school year, scoring 84 out of 100 possible points. This grade is intended to assess how well a school district performs on STAAR tests and how well the district addresses problems and serves underprivileged students. Edgewood ranked a B in student achievement, a C in school progress and a B in the “Closing the Gaps” category, a performance rating for different student populations.

For the same school year, under the leadership of former superintendent Cara Cooke, KISD earned a

C overall rating, scoring 73 out of 100 points. KISD scored a C on student achievement and school progress and a D in “Closing the Gaps.”

However, Edgewood is a significantly smaller district than KISD. In the 2017-18 school year, KISD had 4,070 students enrolled across five campuses. In the same school year, Edgewood had 985 students enrolled at four campuses.

According to a profile page on the Edgewood ISD website, Baker’s wife Rebecca is a freshman English teacher at Edgewood High and they have three children, one who attends Texas A&M University and two who attend Edgewood ISD.

KISD trustees will vote on hiring Baker in a special board meeting held 21 days after naming him the finalist, in accordance with state law. Their hope is that he can successfully move his family to Kilgore over the Christmas holiday and be ready to begin his new job when school starts up again on January 8.

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