Nacogdoches ISD has found its leader, though the welcome was a little less personal than usual.
Trustees on Thursday voted unanimously to hire Dr. Gabriel A. Trujillo as the district’s new superintendent during an unconventional online meeting held through the video conferencing app Zoom due to safety concerns over COVID-19, the disease caused by novel coronavirus.
“Right now, we’re in a state of fear and unknown, but I will tell you this will pass,” Trujillo said. “And when this passes, we will meet, and this is for the parents, we will meet the needs of all of our children in Nacogdoches at their point of wherever they are and get them where they need to be at so we can have academic success.”
Trujillo is expected to begin work full-time with NISD on April 6.
“To the community of Nacogdoches, I am going to tell you that it was a privilege to meet these wonderful folks that you have put as volunteers to serve your community and the best interest of your kids,” he said. “I will tell you the passion and the drive in each and everyone of them is what got me to keep coming back and wanting to impress them and let them know I am that man for that job in Nacogdoches … To the board members, You will see nothing but greatness in what I will provide for you.”
Trujillo serves as area superintendent at Grand Prairie ISD, overseeing two high schools, seven middle schools and five elementary schools, and has been at the district since 2013.
Before his stint at Grand Prairie, Trujillo spent 12 years as an elementary and secondary principal at Duncanville ISD. He has been awarded Texas Principal of the Year at both elementary and secondary levels and named a National Distinguished Principal of the Year.
Trujillo will replace interim Superintendent Alton Frailey who has held the position since March 2018, and announced his departure from the position late last year.
“First of all, I want to congratulate Dr. Trujillo, I had a great time visiting with him and have heard great things about him from folks I respect,” Frailey said. “I do beleive great things are in store for Nacogdoches with his leadership. I wish him well, and will be available to him at his call.”
The board also unanimously approved a resolution concerning COVID-19. The resolution provides authority for the superintendent over certain items during the emergency.
The authority to act in the place of the Board of Trustees under Board Policy DEA (Local) and make all decisions regarding payment of employees during an emergency closure, to implement the provisions of Board Policy DEA (Local), and to make determinations regarding the purpose any such expenditures.
The authority to make decisions regarding the compensation, if any, of exempt and non-exempt employees who may be required to report to work or work remotely during an emergency closure and to implement those decisions.
The authority to determine work days and hours, if any, for all employees during the closure.
The authority to implement an educational program for students during the closure.
The authority to postpone, suspend, or cancel regular board meetings during the closure in the interest of health and safety after consultation with the board president.
The authority to alter the Nacogdoches ISD 2019-2020 school calendar by changing and/or adding school or instructional hours and work or school days as necessitated by any emergency closure or related concerns.
The authority to create guidelines and make determinations regarding absences, leave time, leave days, and compensation of any employee who is quarantined as a result of COVID-19 and/or who tests positive for COVID-19 and who presents appropriate medical documentation regarding themselves and/or an immediate family member, in the sole discretion of the Superintendent or his designee, in compliance with Texas and federal law.
The authority to seek any necessary waivers from the Texas Education Agency without further action of the Board of Trustees regarding missed instructional days, low attendance, or any matters related to the emergency closures as part of this Resolution.
The authority to declare a catastrophe and take all actions as appropriate in accordance with Texas Government Code Section 552.233 regarding temporary suspension of the Texas Public Information Act.