McKenzie hands off to Willingham as new school year begins

Published 10:48 pm Saturday, August 17, 2013

The leadership torch of the Dallas County School System was officially handed over Friday, as Superintendent of Education Dr. Fannie McKenzie passed the gavel on to Don Willingham, who will now lead the school system.

McKenzie, who said she has great faith in Willingham and his capability to lead Dallas County Schools, said she believed the upcoming school year would be a success.

“We’ve done a lot of good things and there’s still work to be done, but I know with the leadership of Mr. Willingham, the Dallas County School System will continue to be on the move,” she said. “It is my hope that they will have a very, very successful school year.”

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Friday, McKenzie, along with the rest of the system’s leadership, came together at Martin Middle School to welcome back school administrators and personnel. To kick off the school year, which officially begins Monday, the board hosted a motivational speaker to get administrators in the right mindset for the new school year.

Willingham, who previously served as assistant superintendent under McKenzie, said he’s looking forward to the school year and all the great things Dallas County Schools can, and will accomplish.

“It’s great to see everyone back, and I think there’s a lot of good things ahead for Dallas County Schools,” Willingham said. “It’s important to host events like this where we can get the teachers and personnel excited about the upcoming year.”

With hundreds of system employees lining the bleachers of Martin Middle School, both McKenzie and Willingham addressed the staff, encouraging them to have a successful year.

“It’s important that the Dallas County School System personnel feel that we are transitioning so that they can have a successful year,” McKenzie said, adding thanks to all those who made previous years a success. “I say thank you to the board for providing the opportunity. I say thank you to parents, students, administrators, teachers and our support personnel and friends of education. Without them, we could not have had the success we have had thus far.”

The board selected Willingham to lead the school system, naming him interim superintendent. The board said they plan to make a final determination on removing the interim tag — or selecting another superintendent — later this fall.