KETR

Commerce ISD Superintendent to Retire

Apr 18, 2016

Quoting the book of Ecclesiastes, Commerce ISD superintendent Blake Cooper writes, "I believe that the time for my season of leading Commerce ISD is coming to a close."

In a letter addressed to the CISD Board of Trustees, District Staff, students, and the community of Commerce, TX, and delivered at the April 18th regular meeting of the Board, Cooper indicated that he will be resigning his position effective this summer, "for the purpose of retiring from my current work in education."

Cooper began his role in CISD administration on January 5th, 2009, after a unanimous vote of the Board of Trustees the previous October. His career has included an assistant superintendent post at Kaufman ISD and multiple roles at Edgewood High School, including head football coach and principal. Cooper has also been a teacher and coach at the Winnsboro, Garland, Sulphur Springs, and Sheldon school districts, and he's served as an instructor and coach at East Texas State University, now Texas A&M University-Commerce.

As the top administrator at CISD, Cooper oversaw the construction of the current A.C. Williams Elementary School and the renovation of the previous A.C. Williams building which now houses the ISD administration staff. He helped to explain the UIL reclassification of Commerce ISD from a 3A district to a 2A district in 2012.

Cooper became known for his passionate stance against high-stakes standardized testing in public schools, for which he received support from the Commerce City Council and the Commerce Economic Development Corporation, leading him to present the matter, along with like-minded superintendents, to legislators in Austin and beyond.

In 2015, Cooper was named the Region 10 ESC Superintendent of the Year, making him a finalist for the same honor with the Texas Association of School Boards.

The text of the resignation letter follows.

Dear CISD Board of Trustees, District Staff, Students, and the Community of Commerce,

It says in Ecclesiates 3, "for every time there is a season." I believe that the time for my season of leading Commerce ISD is coming to a close. I will be resigning from my position as Superintendent of Schools for Commerce ISD effective this summer for the purpose of retiring from my current work in education.

Thank you to everyone who has been a part of our working together to make Commerce ISD a destination school district. Almost eight years ago at my very first meeting with each campus i shared that it was my goal to make Commerce ISD the "premier district in northeast Texas." Well, we are at a record high enrollment for the past nine years while enrolling students every week, and have rebuilt our reputation so that we have a record number of student attending Commerce ISD who do not reside in our district boundaries. An important by-product of the enrollment has led to a much healthier financial condition that when I got here. This allows us to provide better facilities, better pay for our staff along with unique and better learning opportunities for our students.

I want to say a very special thank you to all of the people who are responsible for taking care of our students on a daily basis. I have said many times, "this is where the rubber meets the road." From the many community volunteers, bus drivers, custodial staff, food service workers, to the paraprofessionals, teachers and administrators, thank you for all you do every day to meet the wide ranging needs of our most precious resource, our students. There is no doubt in my mind that, collectively, there is not a goup that works harder to help our students be all they can be.

The Central office staff is a special group that loves what they do and wants to help our staff have the tools necessary to be successful on their campus an din their classrooms. They are motivated to do all they can to help our student and staff succeed. I have had a lot of ideas that have been carried out by this loyal group of co-workers. I have said that good leadership is hiring people who are passionate at what they do then getting out of the way and letting them do their job. I believe we have a district full of educators who are experts at their craft and are making a difference in the lives of their students.

I want to finally thank a group of people who work tirelessly for our students -- the Commerce ISD Board of Trustees.I am humbled by their confidence in me to lead this district and I appreciate that they have held me accountable for the things we do in CISD. here is no doubt in my mind that they will find the right person to hand off the baton and take Commerce ISD to even greater heights in the years ahead. I am proud to have played a small part in the history of this great school district.

Thank you to all and God's blessings on every single person associated with Commerce ISD in the days and years ahead.

Sincerely,
Blake W. Cooper