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Superintendent Lone Finalist

Meet the New Superintendent

A reception for the community to meet Dr. David Hicks will take place from 4:30 to 6 p.m. Tuesday, May 24, in the Northwest ISD administration building's board room. All community members are welcome to attend, including students, staff, families and others. Opportunities to meet Dr. Hicks within each high school zone will take place in the fall.

Dr. David Hicks named lone finalist for Northwest ISD superintendent

A headshot of Dr. David Hicks
Dr. David Hicks

The Northwest ISD Board of Trustees has unanimously voted to name Dr. David Hicks as the lone finalist for the next superintendent of the school district, placing a proven leader at the helm of the fastest-growing North Texas school system.

Throughout his career, Dr. Hicks has established a reputation of supporting students, educators and schools by focusing on strong learning environments that collaborate with the local community. Dr. Hicks currently serves as superintendent of Sherman ISD, which he has led for six years. As a superintendent, he has focused on fostering top-tier academic and extracurricular programs, ensuring the needs of every child are met, and creating a long-term vision for district growth.

Northwest ISD trustees guided their search based on survey data from the entire community as well as in-person and virtual meetings with key stakeholder groups. Based on this input from across the community, trustees sought a candidate who met four key criteria:

  • Someone who has dealt with fast growth and changing demographics
  • Someone who has demonstrated success in student achievement across all school-related aspects
  • Someone with excellent communication skills to navigate the district’s 14 municipalities across three counties
  • Someone who has shown themselves to be fiscally responsible to ensure the financial stability of the district

The selection, made during a special board meeting on March 29, brings a leader who meets this community-driven criteria during a time when Northwest ISD will experience booming enrollment. Demographic experts project Northwest ISD will add at least 2,500 students to its current enrollment figure during the 2022-2023 school year. With a landmass of 234 square miles that is only about a third occupied, the district anticipates similar fast growth for decades to come.

Dr. Hicks said Northwest ISD’s reputation for maintaining exceptional educational and extracurricular program offerings along with a close-knit community atmosphere makes it a destination for families to raise their children.

“Northwest ISD has an incredible reputation for attracting outstanding educators and providing a world-class education for its students,” he said. “I am excited to join the team and help further the district’s reputation for excellence. My granddaughter will one day be a Peterson Mustang, and my wife and I are looking forward to making NISD our new home.”

Under his leadership, Sherman ISD has earned accolades for its commitment to high-quality education at all grade levels. Its early childhood education program garnered a Pre-K Center of Excellence distinction from the Texas Education Agency, and Sherman High School has maintained a top graduation rate in the area.

Dr. Hicks has led Sherman ISD through an area of unprecedented growth, uniting the community around a vision for a new state-of-the-art high school; prioritizing prudent management of financial resources resulting in consistent increases to the district’s fund balance; and developing innovative instructional programs, including AP and dual-credit courses. He has a heart for students, and much of his time is spent in the classroom supporting teachers and engaging students through mentorships and literacy initiatives.

Children are the focus of everything we do as educators. The potential to change the world happens every day inside the walls of our schools, and I am eager to live out Northwest ISD’s core belief that kids come first.Dr. David Hicks, Lone Finalist for Northwest ISD Superintendent

Before becoming superintendent of Sherman ISD, Dr. Hicks served as area superintendent of secondary programs in Denton ISD, a fast-growth school district just a few minutes from Northwest ISD. In that role, he supervised middle and high schools, including academics, athletics and fine arts. He also oversaw several growth-related matters at secondary schools.

Dr. Hicks has 33 years of experience in education, starting his career as a teacher. Prior to entering district administration ranks, he spent more than 20 years directly supporting students and teachers at the campus level. Dr. Hicks began his path in education as a middle school history teacher in Carrolton-Farmers Branch ISD before transitioning into campus leadership. He served as principal or assistant principal at all campus levels – elementary, middle and high – in Carrolton-Farmers Branch ISD and Grapevine-Colleyville ISD.

With their unanimous vote, the Northwest ISD Board of Trustees concludes a search process that contained feedback from all areas of the Northwest ISD community. Every community member had the opportunity to provide feedback through an online survey, in-person meeting or virtual meeting. Additionally, stakeholder groups such as student leadership teams, teachers, campus and district administrators, and locally elected government officials met with search firm Leasor Crass to provide direct input. This feedback led to the creation of a candidate profile that guided the school board’s pursuit for the next district leader.

Dr. Anne Davis-Simpson, president of the school board, said on behalf of its members that Dr. Hicks impressed the board during the interview process with his breadth of experience in multiple school districts.

“We personally met with six impressive candidates during this interview process after reviewing dozens of applications, and we believe we’ve come away with a leader who is a great fit with the qualities our community desires,” she said. “Dr. Hicks is a leader who puts kids first, which is our top priority. He truly values the work teachers and support staff perform. We were equally impressed with his ability to relate to families and communicate effectively.”

Dr. Hicks earned his doctorate in educational leadership from the University of North Texas, where he also earned his master’s degree in educational administration. He earned his bachelor’s degree in history from the University of Dallas.

He will replace Dr. Ryder Warren, current superintendent of Northwest ISD, who plans to retire this school year. To provide a smooth transition, Dr. Hicks will work with Dr. Warren to learn more about Northwest ISD, including meeting with district and campus leadership, teachers, and local government leaders.

Because of state law, Dr. Hicks will remain the lone finalist for superintendent for 21 days before the school board can officially offer him the position. Tentatively, he will begin in the role in May. At that time, Dr. Hicks will lead day-to-day operations of Northwest ISD and collaborate with the school board to steer the long-term vision for the fastest-growing school district in North Texas.

Superintendent Search Process

In Texas, school boards oversee the employment of superintendents at public school districts. As such, they evaluate the current superintendent and hire a new superintendent when needed. Through this role, Northwest ISD trustees selected Dr. Hicks after a comprehensive search for Dr. Warren’s replacement.

Northwest ISD trustees contracted Leasor Crass to assist in the search process for the district’s next superintendent. Trustees desired input from across the district, including an opportunity for every community member to give feedback as well as in-person and virtual meetings with important stakeholder groups, such as student leaders, district educators and local government officials. A full list of stakeholder meetings can be found on the superintendent search page.

Based on the community’s feedback, Leasor Crass created a candidate profile to guide trustees in their search process. This profile was anchored by the four key criteria listed above.

More than 30 candidates applied for the superintendent position, which was narrowed to 16 for review. Trustees further narrowed the pool to 10 candidates, of which six were selected for a first round of in-person interviews. After this time, trustees selected their top four for a second round of interviews and chose Dr. Hicks as lone finalist.

In Texas, school districts must choose a lone finalist because of a state-mandated 21-day waiting period. After the waiting period, a school board can formally hire the lone finalist.

Superintendent Search Details

Statements from Trustees

President (Place 3), Dr. Anne Davis-Simpson: “We personally met with six impressive candidates during this interview process after reviewing dozens of applications, and we believe we’ve come away with a leader who is a great fit with the qualities our community desires. Dr. Hicks is a leader who puts kids first, which is our top priority. He truly values the work teachers and support staff perform. We were equally impressed with his ability to relate to families and communicate effectively.”

Vice President (Place 5), Steve Sprowls: “I was impressed with Dr. Hicks’ vision for Northwest ISD and commitment to career and technical education classes as well as ideas for expanding course offerings. I look forward to working with Dr. Hicks to steer the direction of Northwest ISD as we continue welcoming thousands of students in the years to come.”

Secretary (Place 6), Dr. Lillian Rauch: “Dr. Hicks is a positive, genuine and caring leader who understands all students can learn and that student success should always be the district’s focal point. Recognizing student and teacher success is important to him, as is building relationships with students, staff and our communities. He has experience meeting the challenges of a fast-growth district and related financial decisions our district faces. I appreciate his positive vision for our district.”

Place 1, DeAnne Hatfield: “I believe Dr. Hicks’ professional experience, passion and enthusiasm are wonderful qualities that will endear him to our community. His demonstrated leadership with fast-growth school districts will be highly beneficial to our growing school district.”

Place 2, Mark Schluter: “I am so excited for a new chapter for Northwest ISD moving forward into the 21st century. I'm equally excited to get to know Dr. Hicks better as we help our students meet their potential and prepare for their futures.”

Place 4, Judy Copp: “Dr. Hicks has the experience we need for a fast-growth district. He recognizes ‘teachers are the heart of what is happening’ and that kids should always be our top priority. His willingness to be actively involved with all our communities and visible throughout the district will lead to great two-way communication. He has a positive attitude that is truly impressive in how it inspires others.”

Place 7, Jennifer Murphy: “Dr. Hicks is a respectful, empathetic leader who strives to unite through intentional conversations focused on kids. He has proven to be a thoughtful and reasonable leader who is active in the community and has a mutual respect for all whom he serves. I am honored to have Dr. Hicks serve as the next superintendent of Northwest ISD and I look forward to his leadership.”