What was it that made current Sealy ISD Superintendent Sheryl Moore decide she was ready to retire from education after 35 years, creating what she calls “the best job available in the state of Texas”?
“Timing,” she said in a phone interview April 23. “My parents are older, they're a long way away. My husband's retired and I always knew that I didn't want to quit working, but I was really open to the idea of changing careers if a good opportunity came along for that.”
That was indeed the scenario where Moore decided that it was a good time to step away, helped along because of the state she leaves the district in.
“We're in a good place, I have a great board and the district is great,” she said. “It's such a good situation and that really is when you want to leave. It just seemed like the right time to do it and man oh man if I've ever done anything else right in terms of timing in my life it's this.”
Moore said she was glad she was able to guide the district she knows so well through some uncharted territories in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic but looking back on her six years at the helm of Sealy ISD, there were a few things that stuck out in her mind.
“We’ve had some pretty big wins, but when I first interviewed for this job I drove in on (Hwy. 90) and I saw what used to be in that area (next to T.J. Mills Stadium) and us being able to purchase that land and improve it and make it the way it is, that was a big one,” she said. “Structurally, we have come so far in a short amount of time. If you go to our school board meetings, you can tell we talk about school. Our board is absolutely focused on the right things and doing the right things for the right reasons for all kids.”
Moore said she was most proud of adjusting another goal to help everyone involved.
“What I'm most proud of is how we really shifted to have a laser focus on learning,” she said. “It was in there before, but it wasn't at the very top of the list. Now, it is.”
Although instruction looks different being completely online, she mentioned the equation of everything that’s improved over the last handful of years made the superintendent’s vacancy in Sealy the most attractive in the lone star state, as reflected in 86 applicants according to Executive Search Services.
“Just the mere fact that we had so many applicants,” Moore said, “this job, in this town- this was the best job available in the state of Texas. By that number of people who applied for it, everybody gets that this is the place to be. It's going to get even more exciting when things start to grow a little bit more here.”
That exciting future will be navigated by Dr. Bryan Hallmark, who was officially hired as Moore’s replacement at last Friday’s meeting of the board of trustees but before her retirement becomes effective June 30, Moore said she won’t be going too far away.
“I'm going to be, I would say a mentor and just there to help guide and get his feet on the ground,” she said of Hallmark’s May 4 start date. “It's just such an odd time, normally I'd be taking him around and
introducing him to all these great people I've been telling him about who have been so kind and instrumental to me. It's just a weird time, I'm not quite sure how that's going to look.”
Still, she has enjoyed her time so much in town that she and her family will be sticking around the area and she looks forward to continuing to help Sealy ISD by starting an educational foundation.
“We're not going anywhere,” Moore said. “We're staying right here in Sealy because we love it here.”
One thing that will be an adjustment for Moore will be the daily interactions she had with people across the district.
When asked what she’d miss the most about being Sealy ISD’s superintendent, Moore said, “the day-to-day interaction. I have a really good time at my job, I really, sincerely do, I wouldn't have done (the job) if I didn't. I had a really good time and I've made really good friends. I will absolutely miss the day-to-day interaction with people that I care about very much, so that's going to be a shift. I'm so grateful to the people in this town and in this school district for the opportunity and for their support.”