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Monaco to scale back role

Profile image for By Britney Tabor / Staff Writer
By Britney Tabor / Staff Writer

Aubrey superintendent preparing to retire after 25-plus years at helm

AUBREY — Aubrey school district Superintendent James Monaco and the school board have begun planning for Monaco’s retirement.

While Monaco starts scaling back his days, Debby Sanders, the assistant superintendent, and Terrie McNabb, the director of special programs, have been promoted and will take on more duties.

Sanders will serve as deputy superintendent and McNabb will be assistant superintendent.

The superintendent said he’s not retiring just yet, but he wants the board to know he’s thinking about it.

“I just want [the board] to know I don’t want to make a long-term commitment, and I don’t want to catch them by surprise on anything,” said Monaco, 65. “Today, there’s so much pressure in the job. It’s not for the faint of heart.

“When you get this age, you just don’t know how far down the road you can look.”

Transition planning began earlier this month, he said, and additional duties for Sanders and McNabb are still being ironed out.

Monaco has served as Aubrey superintendent since 1985. In that time, the district has built two elementary schools and a middle school. It has upgraded some facilities and has been recognized for fiscal and academic successes. He said he’s seen the district grow from 300 students to a projected 2,000 this upcoming school year.

He joined the Aubrey school district in 1977-78 as a counselor, coach and driver’s education instructor. Over the years, he also served as a campus principal.

He said that while he intends to scale back his workdays, he will help the board with his knowledge of the ins and outs of selecting a new superintendent.

“They’ve been super fair to me and that’s all I want to do, is be fair to them,” Monaco said.

He said he intends to continue work through the end of the year and could possibly be here for years to come.

Board President Mike Sessions said the board has wondered when Monaco might take steps toward retirement. He said they don’t look for him to go anywhere soon, though.

Sessions said Monaco has been knowledgeable of school finance and has stuck with the district through tough times.

As long as Monaco can use his expertise to train staff, Sessions said he thinks that’s a great thing.

Sessions said he’s confident Sanders and McNabb are capable of handling additional responsibilities.

“They’ve been here a long time,” he said. “They know their jobs very well and they’ve done good in their jobs, and I expect them to handle these new roles in their jobs real well.

“Dr. Monaco, he will someday leave, and we want people that can run the district when he leaves.”

Sanders, who attended grade school in Aubrey, has been with the school district 32 years. She’s served as a math teacher, girls basketball coach, counselor and principal.

“I have lived in Aubrey most of my life, and I love the Aubrey school district and the community and … part of my aspirations was to always make sure the district could be the best it could be for the community,” Sanders said. “I guess I’m born and bred Aubrey.”

It’s scary to think Monaco, who hired her, could retire, she said.

“He has been a rock in the school district a number of years and it’s because of him Aubrey has been the successful school district that it is,” Sanders said.

She said she’s seen Monaco’s loyalty to the district. Over the years, she said, he’s taught her that the students are always No. 1 and that he has always found a way to provide for them.

She’s recently discussed with Monaco additional roles she will take on. Some responsibilities will include taking a more active role in board meetings, preparing board packets and being a public liaison between the schools, communities and parents.

Sanders said she appreciates that the school board trusts her to take on additional roles.

“It’s an honor to think that the board has enough confidence in me to put me fully in charge when Dr. Monaco is not here,” Sanders said.

McNabb has worked for Aubrey schools for more than 20 years, including stints as a teacher, counselor and principal.

She said she’s excited about her new role and looks forward to working with Sanders and Monaco and in learning new things.

“It really is just an extremely proud moment, time for me,” McNabb said. “This district and this community mean so much to me.

“It’s really an honor for me to be able to serve them in this role of being assistant superintendent.”

BRITNEY TABOR can be reached at 940-566-6876. Her e-mail address is .