Central Dauphin School Board hires Texan as leader

The Patriot News

by Mary Klaus

Published: Tuesday, July 21, 2009, 11:48 PM     Updated: Wednesday, July 22, 2009, 10:01 AM

Moments before the Central Dauphin School Board hired Luis B. Gonzalez as the district's new superintendent, a parent at the meeting asked whether he would be a short-term superintendent. 

The board, which voted 7-to-1 to hire the San Antonio resident, never answered the question before approving Gonzalez's three-year, $150,000-per-year contract. 

In an interview, the 62-year-old said he was looking forward to his new position and living in the area. "This is a district with a population that lends itself to a quality education system," he said. "I like this part of the country. It's different than Texas." 

Over the last decade, Gonzalez has had short stays with various districts, leaving some to wonder how long he'll be in the mid-state. 

Gonzalez said he left jobs when "other opportunities attracted me" and is eager to work in Central Dauphin.

Gonzalez, a former English teacher and school principal, first worked as a district superintendent in 1992 at the Fort Stockton School District in west Texas. He left that job two years later. 

In 1994, he became superintendent of an urban school district in East Chicago, leaving three years later. In 1997, he became superintendent of Mason Consolidated Schools in Erie, Mich., staying there four years. 

He next became superintendent of Edgemont Independent School District in Texas in 2001, staying there two years. In 2003, he became superintendent of Mathis Independent School District in Mathis, Texas, resigning from that job in 2008. 

He also has worked as an education consultant. 

Since last year, Gonzalez has applied for superintendent jobs in several districts, including Jackson Public Schools in Mississippi, Manatee County Schools in Florida, Fayetteville School District in Arkansas and Norwood City School District in Ohio.

Gonzalez is filling the position left vacant in August by John Scola, who retired to take another job. Richard K. Miller Jr. has been acting superintendent. He will return to his former job as assistant superintendent now that Gonzalez has been hired.

Central Dauphin School Board member Christian Malesic said Gonzalez impressed him in the interview process. 

"We put all the candidates through the ringer," Malesic said. "I asked him tough questions. He didn't stay too long at many places because he was a transitional leader in some of the districts. He came here looking for a new challenge. Central Dauphin is quite a challenge. He has a lot to offer."