By David Carroll

CHATTANOOGA (WRCB)-  James Colbert Jr., assistant superintendent for Hamilton County schools, will become the next superintendent for the West Orange-Cove (TX) school district.

According to various Texas media sources, the West Orange-Cove School Board met Monday night and voted unanimously to name Colbert as the lone finalist for the job.  Texas Education Agency rules require a district to name a lone finalist 21 days in advance of officially hiring a superintendent.

Board President Pete Amy told reporters that Colbert has the right personality to go with the school district.

Colbert was among the first hires by Hamilton County Superintendent Dr. Jim Scales when he took office in 2006.  Like Scales, Colbert's previous job was in Texas.  Scales' term is scheduled to end in June 2012, although there has been talk among Hamilton County School Board members and County Commissioners of a potential buyout prior to that date.  No action has been taken, and Dr. Scales has stated that he intends to serve out his term.

In his current job overseeing Hamilton County's secondary schools, Colbert is paid an annual salary of $96,785. He is expected to be on the job in Texas when the new semester starts in January.

Colbert has a bachelor's degree in education from the University of Texas and a master's degree in education administration from Texas State University. He has Texas and Tennessee teacher and principal certifications, along with a Tennessee superintendent's certificate.

Prior to coming to Hamilton County, he was a teacher, coach and assistant principal in the Pflugerville, Texas, school district, plus a principal in the Dallas school district.

In his new job, he will supervise a school district made up of four campuses and a total enrollment of about 2500 students.

Here is a portion of the press release from the West Orange-Cove school district:

The West Orange – Cove CISD Board of Trustees met in a special called session tonight and announced James Colbert Jr. as the finalist for the position of WOCCISD Superintendent.

            Colbert is currently Assistant Superintendent of Campus Operations at the Hamilton County Department of Education in Tennessee.

            Colbert earned his Bachelor's Degree in Education from the University of Texas and a Master's Degree in Education Administration from Texas State University. He holds Texas and Tennessee teacher and principal certifications, as well as a Tennessee superintendent's certificate.

            He has 15 years experience in education. He has served as a teacher, coach and assistant principal in the Pflugerville school district, a principal in the Dallas School district, and currently provides support, supervision, assessment and accountability leadership for 70+  campuses (42,000 students)  in the Hamilton County School System. Colbert assists with all matters of school operations, implementation of instructional programs, assessment, accountability, and staffing as well as professional development for all administrators.

            Key accomplishments in his career include:

  • Developing a Principal's Leadership Academy that successfully secured over $1 million in private and corporate sponsorship over a period of five years;
  • Developing a process and framework for addressing the graduation rate for 17 high schools that incorporated training of principals and counselors, ultimately resulting in a Graduation Summit;
  • Assisting in the development of a district-wide accountability plan that included all branches of the school district from central office to formative assessment of principals and teachers;
  • Developing a new appraisal instrument for principals, assistant principals, and central office personnel that will be used as a pilot for the state of Tennessee;
  • Developing frameworks to provide seamless support for site based management for 78 campuses;
  • Successfully creating interventions to address curriculum and school climate needs for a variety of campuses ranging from rural to urban;
  • Successfully developing and organizing processes and protocols for professional development of principals and assistant principals;
  • Assisting in developing /executing plans to effectively address district fiscal deficits;
  • Developing framework/process for staff adjustments and school consolidations/closures; and
  • Supervising and supporting nationally recognized magnet and academy schools in addition to the International Baccalaureate Diploma Program.

            Additionally, Colbert coached five All-American athletes. He, also, was a two-time All American as a high school athlete.

            While attending the University of Texas, he was a four-time letterman on the track and field team. He also served as team captain and was a two-time member of the All-Southwest Conference Team.

            Colbert and Angie, his wife of 17 years, have a nine year old son.

            Pete Amy, President of the WOCCISD Board of Trustees, said, "I believe that Mr. Colbert has the qualities that will help our district excel and I look forward to working with him.  He has expressed his excitement in coming to West Orange-Cove.  He will bring many new ideas."

            In the search for a new superintendent, WOCCISD received over 20 applications for the position from applicants in Texas and other states.

        (Sources for this story include the Beaumont Enterprise, KDFM, and KOGT)