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Aubrey superintendent James Monaco to step down

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

Sanders to serve as acting superintendent for Aubrey school district

Deputy Superintendent Debby Sanders will serve as acting superintendent for the Aubrey school district in the absence of James Monaco.

Last week, Monaco said in a letter to the Aubrey school board and district staff that he planned to step down June 30, and the board named Sanders as the acting superintendent.

Monaco has served as Aubrey superintendent since the 1984-85 school year. In 2002, he retired and became an “at-will” employee of Waco-based JR3 Education Associates L.P., a company that hires and places retired educators in school systems. The company also conducts superintendent searches, which is how Monaco continued to serve as superintendent.

Board President Mike Sessions said that the district has submitted a 90-day notice to JR3 indicating its intent to terminate its agreement for Monaco’s services.

After nearly 30 years, Monaco, 66, said it’s been great serving as superintendent, but the job is for a younger person. He said as he gets older, he simply can’t fulfill all the duties he once did as superintendent. Monaco said he felt it was “the right time” to retire.

“I don’t want to have a position where I can’t fulfill all the duties to be successful,” he said. “You just want to leave on top, and the organization is doing well and that’s important to me.”

In his letter to the Aubrey school board and district staff, Monaco wrote that he supported the board’s decision to name Sanders acting superintendent. He expressed his appreciation for the work of district staff and his gratitude for the staff and school board. Monaco wrote he now looks at being “Aubrey ISD’s No. 1 cheerleader in the years to come.”

“I will have spent 29 years of my life being the superintendent of Aubrey,” Monaco wrote in his resignation letter. “I leave with a mind overflowing with magnificent memories; with a heart beating with positive feelings towards everyone; and perhaps most important — with no regrets. In my 29 years, I have seen it all, and I have come to appreciate the grand array of dedicated individuals who work in the Aubrey ISD.”

Sessions described Monaco as a superintendent who demanded excellence of the teachers, staff, superintendents and principals he supervised and it’s that demand for excellence that’s brought the district to where it is today.

“He’s done an excellent job,” Sessions said. “We’re a good district, sound financially and we give our young people the opportunity to be successful.”

The district began planning for Monaco’s retirement last August — Monaco scaled back his workdays and Sanders, who at the time served as assistant superintendent, and Terrie McNabb, then director of special programs, were promoted to deputy superintendent and assistant superintendent, respectively, and took on more responsibilities.

With Monaco wanting to lessen his role in the last days of his contract, the board felt Sanders had the qualifications to serve as superintendent in his absence, Sessions said.

Board members are considering alternatives for naming Monaco’s successor, Sessions said, such as considering someone currently on staff for the job. He said at this time there is no plan to hire a search firm to find the district’s next superintendent.

BRITNEY TABOR can be reached at 940-566-6876 and via Twitter at @BritneyTabor.