The College Station school board on Wednesday unanimously approved Mike Martindale, the district’s chief financial officer and deputy superintendent, to serve as interim superintendent.
“I’m absolutely honored at the opportunity and appreciative of the board to place that confidence in me,” Martindale said following the special board meeting.
The decision to name Martindale as interim superintendent came after a two-and-a-quarter hour executive session in which the board discussed the process of finding a replacement for Clark Ealy, who resigned as the district’s top administrator to take over the post at the Schertz-Cibolo-Universal City school district near San Antonio.
Ealy was named the lone finalist for the SCUC school district position last month and was officially hired by his new school district on Tuesday. College Station trustees also unanimously voted Wednesday to accept Ealy’s resignation, effective Feb. 2.
Martindale will assume the superintendent duties the following day.
“I look forward to working closely with Dr. Ealy in the next few weeks during that transition,” he said.
Martindale started at the district in 2007 as principal of Rock Prairie Elementary School and then opened College Station High School in 2012 as the school’s first principal. He moved into a district administrative role as CFO and deputy superintendent in 2016.
He said that experience as a campus-level administrator and in the district’s central office, especially as it has opened new schools, helps him understand the needs of the district at both levels.
Board President Michael Schaefer said when selecting an interim superintendent, the board looked through the district’s leadership team, and Martindale’s name rose to the top.
“He is the one deputy superintendent we had. I don’t think there’s a secret there’s a reason he’s deputy superintendent,” he said.
With good things happening in the district, Martindale said, his charge from the board is to continue that progress as “business as usual.”
“We do exceptional work, and that’s not going to change, so that expectation will remain positive,” he said.
Schaefer said he does not anticipate any disruptions to the district’s operations during the transition.
Martindale will continue to do his work as the district’s chief financial officer, but said he might lean more on directors than in previous years as the district prepares early preliminary budgeting and staffing numbers to show the board for the 2020-2021 school year.
“As a team, we’ll find our way through it, and everything will be just fine,” Martindale said. “I’m confident that we can handle those responsibilities.”
With the additional responsibilities, Martindale will receive a stipend, the details of which are still to be determined.
Wednesday started the district’s search of finding Ealy’s permanent replacement. The executive session included meeting with David Thompson with the Thompson and Horton law firm in Houston and Mike Moses, former state education commissioner, who will serve as consultant.
“I think we’re all excited to be a part of selecting that next superintendent, whoever he or she may be,” Schaefer said following the meeting.
Martindale and each of the board members expressed their excitement for Ealy’s new opportunity and also gratitude for his work in College Station since starting at the district in 2000 on the curriculum and instruction team before taking on the role of superintendent in 2014.
Schaefer described the discussion of Ealy’s resignation as emotional.
“I’m very excited for him. I know there’s new challenges for him, but it’s still, at the end of day, it’s tough to have somebody that you’ve known for the last 15-20 years as a friend and then also the last five years I’ve been on the school board with him as superintendent,” Schaefer said.