Monday, July 16, 2018
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Dr-Robert-OConnorNext August the Sharyland Independent School District will begin the school year without its current superintendent or human resources director.


At the Nov. 27 SISD Board of Trustees meeting, citing health reasons Superintendent Robert O’Connor announced he is resigning from his position before the start of the next school year.


The board also approved the resignation of Rosa O’Donnell, the district’s human resources director, effective at the end of the school year.


O’Connor announced his resignation saying he wished to keep his health complications private.


“I still think I can beat this and be fine but I do think it’s in the best interest of the district to move forward,” he told the board. “It hurts but I know you gotta do what you gotta do so I encourage you to move forward.”


The board unanimously approved a letter of understanding between the district and the Austin-based consulting firm Waterford School Services Inc. to assist in the search for a new superintendent at a fee of $13,800.  O’Connor said the district plans to begin accepting applications in January to have his position filled by the end of July 2018.


“I want to help with the transition, Sharyland has been a great district to work for and I want to set up this transition in an ideal fashion,” he said.


Waterford will be in charge of the search process and will start by getting feedback from the school board and community members on the type of superintendent they’re looking for, O’Connor said. Waterford will also be in charge of advertising the position, setting up a hiring calendar and job interviews for next spring.


O’Connor was originally hired as the district superintendent July 2015 when he signed a three year contract with the district that expires next summer, he said. Public records list his current total compensation at more than $269,000. Before working for the district, O’Connor served as superintendent for the Marble Falls school district near Austin for four years.


“Obviously even I would’ve hoped to stay a lot longer with the district but it’s in their best interest to move forward and find someone who can commit 100 percent of their time and effort into making sure this district continues to move forward in a positive way,” he said. “It’s time to gracefully retire and make a transition allowing to hire a new super. It’s been a privilege and a pleasure working for this district but it’s time to gracefully exit and hand over the reins to someone.”


O’Connor said he has not yet decided what he will do once he is retired or if he’ll need to leave the Valley as his medical professionals are based in Dallas. However, he says he hopes to devote his free time to his first grandchild who was born during the Thanksgiving break.


“I’d like to have a part-time job in the educational field but between that and being a grandpa, it’s practically a full time job,” he said. “The district, however, will be in great hands. The board will ensure we’ll keep moving in a positive direction with all the achievements we’ve received and find a replacement who feels the same way they do about the district.”


Among the achievements the district has received under O’Connor is earning postsecondary distinction from the Texas Education Agency for the last four years in a row.


O’Donnell, who has served the district for 12 years, turned in a letter of resignation earlier this month.


“I’m ready to retire, it’s just time,” she said. “I’ll be a grandmother in April and I want to spend time with my family and help them. Sharyland has been good to me and I’ve enjoyed my time here. It’s hard to leave this family.”


O’Donnell started in the district as an assistant principal for Sharyland North Junior High School in 2005 before working her way up as the head of human resources, she said.


Both O’Connor and O’Donnell said they’d like to find her replacement by next spring so the district will have someone to negotiate contracts for district employees by the start of the next school year.


“She will be hard to replace,” O’Connor said.