Ensuring the North East Independent School District remains an attractive educational home for pupils, parents and teachers is one of the top goals of the incoming superintendent.
Sean Maika, named interim superintendent by the school board Feb. 16, plans to keep that philosophy in mind when he starts May 6, succeeding the retiring Brian Gottardy.
NEISD trustees said they’re not considering other candidates.
Maika said “NEISD is known for its ‘Tradition of Excellence,’” and he wants to maintain the principle.
“My goal is simple – it’s to build upon our traditions and ensure people continue to view NEISD as a destination school district, a place where people seek out and want to be,” Maika said.
An assistant superintendent of instruction and campus administration at NEISD the past two years, he also was principal at Harris Middle School.
Before joining NEISD, Maika worked in the Comal Independent School District from 2002-2012, at Specht and Timberwood Park elementary schools and later Mountain View Middle School. Between 1995 and 2002, Maika taught fourth and third grades in the Lewisville Independent School District.
The educator describes his approach as “servant leadership.”
“I believe our role as administrators is to serve our students, parents, community members and employees that make up NEISD,” Maika said. “It’s important to lead by example and that’s what I have always tried to do.”
Maika’s interim contract runs through December, with the possibility of being hired permanently before then, according to a district spokeswoman.
“We feel that Dr. Maika understands the district’s tradition of excellence very well and is the best person to continue and improve upon that tradition,” said board President Shannon Grona.
She added, “We also understand that some may question not to conduct an outside search for the superintendent, but searches are expensive and we wanted to make sure we did not unnecessarily spend taxpayers’ funds on a search when we felt we had an excellent candidate in our district to take the reins.”
Gottardy said he will work closely with Maika to guarantee a smooth transition.
“As a member of my executive staff, I know firsthand how dedicated and how much of an asset Sean is,” Gottardy added.
On Jan. 14 Gottardy, who had been the district head for eight years, announced his retirement, effective June 30. He originally became its interim leader when superintendent Richard Middleton resigned after 21 years helming NEISD.
“Having two superintendents in 29 years, when the average tenure of Texas school district superintendents is three to five years, reflects extensively on the great culture that has been maintained here by the district and the board over that time,” Grona said.
Maika noted experiences as a teacher and principal taught him to see “education as a triangle.”
“The top point is the student and the bottom two points are the school and the parent,” Maika said. “All three segments must be firmly in place to fully educate the child. Students and parents are equally important in the education process.”
He takes over Bexar County’s second-largest school district, overseeing 65,000 pupils at 68 schools, and managing about 9,000 employees.
However, in spite of NEISD’s status as a property-wealthy district, it faced a budget shortfall last year due to declining enrollment.
During the 2017-2018 school year, NEISD attendance decreased by 1,500, contributing to an estimated $12.7 million deficit.