By Judy Sheridan
The Aledo Independent School District Board of Trustees named Dr. Derek Citty, an assistant superintendent from Carroll ISD in Southlake, as its top candidate for superintendent at a special meeting May 28. By law, the board must now wait 21 days before voting to hire him.
Citty is slated to replace retiring Superintendent Dan Manning.
“I’m looking forward to getting to know people,” said Citty, who planned to meet with administrators and teachers on AISD campuses the following day. “Everything that’s worthwhile is built on relationships, and it’s important to develop them.
“My immediate challenge is to get to know people and make connections with the pillars of the community,” he said. “I plan to spend the first 100 days gathering knowledge on the state of the district.”
Citty, who grew up in rural Oklahoma, said coming to Aledo is “like coming home to me.”
He received his bachelor’s degree in biology in 1984 and his master’s degree in school administration in 1988 from Southeastern Oklahoma State University, and he completed his doctorate in educational administration from Texas A&M–Commerce.
Citty began his teaching career as a science teacher and coach in the Durant, Okla., public schools, then taught and coached at Liberty-Eylau High School in Texarkana.
He became an administrator for the first time — an assistant principal — while serving in Pleasant Grove ISD in 1990, and Carroll ISD hired him as an assistant principal four years later.
After that, he became the director of administrative services at Carroll ISD, where he served three years before assuming his current position in 2001, as assistant superintendent for administrative services for the 7,800-student 5A school district.
Becoming a superintendent has long been a professional goal, Citty said, but Carroll ISD has been working on a $138 million bond program, and he wanted to stay until the last project was under way.
“It’s the pinnacle of the profession,” he said, “the top administrative post in the district. I don’t know if I could consider my career complete until I’ve had the opportunity to do my best in this position.”
As Carroll ISD has grown, Citty said, he has learned about restructuring attendance zones, obtaining land and informing the community about bond programs, knowledge that will benefit Aledo ISD.
“One of my jobs [at Carroll ISD] was to take the facts [about the bond program] to the community,” he said. “We’ve built a lot of schools. We just finished a middle school and elementary school that came on line a year ago.”
When asked to compare Aledo ISD and Carroll ISD, Citty said the constituency of the districts is very similar.
Both groups are “first-generation affluence,” he said, and both are very involved and supportive.
“They support a lot of endeavors across the board in a positive way,” he said.
Citty has no agenda to reorganize Aledo ISD as Carroll ISD, however.
A superintendent’s job is driven by the goals set by the trustees, he said.
“My goal is to carry through with plans they have,” he said. “I want to be seen as a positive force for kids in Aledo and work to advance the goals that others before me have worked hard to achieve.”
Citty believes the intent of the 21-day period between selecting the district finalist and hiring him or her is to give the community an opportunity to do their own examination.
“It allows them to do their due diligence,” he said. “I’m happy to meet with anybody, or residents can go through the trustees. I don’t think any concerns will pop up in the 21-day period.”
Citty anticipates he will start on a positive note because Manning has done a great job with the district.
“There are no issues out there,” he said. “Mr. Manning’s taken care of them.”
When asked to describe himself, Citty said he takes his job seriously, but not himself.
“I look for the funny things in life,” he said.
Citty has been married to Marla Ernest Citty for 27 years, and the couple has two grown children, Jocelyn, 24, and Zach, 22.
The board is scheduled to vote to offer him a contract on June 19.