New SISD superintendent takes helm amid lawsuits, TEA investigation

Mark Eads lays out plans for Southside ISD

SAN ANTONIO – Facing two lawsuits and a Texas Education of Agency investigation, Southside Independent School District has its share of problems.

Now, they're Mark Ead's problems.

The SISD board approved the new superintendent's contract Monday morning in a special meeting. Coming off a five-year tenure as the San Marcos Consolidated School District superintendent, Eads plans to retire in Southside.

"The students and the staff need to know that someone's here to stay, to be the educational leader and to serve the district," Eads said.

He's coming in just days after it was announced the Texas Education Agency is conducting a special accreditation investigation into the district. The details of the investigation are unclear.

"It didn't impact the decision, because I was committed to coming already. It did make me take a swallow," Eads said, noting he first learned of the investigation Friday. "You don't want to go into a situation where you have a TEA investigation that's just starting that you're not aware of."

Eads called it "another obstacle" that would "make (the district) look bad again," but said he welcomes the investigation.

"TEA comes in to help not to hurt," he said.

It's not the only issue Eads faces. He's coming in at a time when the district faces two lawsuits alleging retaliation against employees.

The suits are by former and current employees who claim they were demoted or fired for not supporting a certain faction of the school board.

Eads said he doesn't know the history of the suits but he feels very comfortable with the board members.

"If people are really working for the students, then those things will take care of themselves," he said.

Plans for the district

Beyond the immediate issues, Eads anticipates the district growing and having a hand in growing the community. San Antonio needs the district as a partner for expansion, he said, and he looks forward to working with businesses.

"We need an HEB here. We need a bank here. We need some really large quality restaurants here," Eads said.

He said he also needs to make some critical hires in the next three to four weeks, specifically a permanent principal for the high school and two assistant superintendents.

The first thing he wants to do is getting to know the district better. Eads wants Southside to be a "destination district," and his role in making that happen has just begun.

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