USD 232 Finds New Superintendent

Dr. Cory Gibson Replaces Dr. Frank Harwood as USD 232’s New Superintendent

Dr. Cory Gibson to be appointed new USD 232 Superintendent.

Dr. Cory Gibson to be appointed new USD 232 Superintendent.

Trever Tilton, Editor-In-Chief

Current Superintendent Dr. Frank Harwood. (USD 232 )

The search for USD 232 Superintendent Dr. Frank Harwood’s replacement has finally concluded.

Dr. Cory Gibson will take office on July 1, 2023. In the meantime, Dr. Gibson will make an effort once appointed officially to start meeting and building relationships with the faculty of District USD 232.

Alvie Cater Assistant Superintendent for Administrative & Educational Services. (USD 232)

Alvie Cater is the USD 232 Assistant Superintendent for Administrative & Educational Services and has been with the district for nearly 20 years. 

“I was originally hired in 2004 for Community Relations and Communications, then over the years I was moved into the position, Director of Administrative and Educational Services,” Cater said. “In 2015, I was moved to Assistant Superintendent for Administration and Communications.”

Role models are always important to understand a little more about a person’s background. Cater shares a couple of his role models leading up to his work in the USD 232 District.

“I have had some very influential individuals in my life, the first individual was my head football coach in high school, Rohn Hartline, he helped instill some leadership and positive character traits,” Cater said. “The second individual was my youth pastor, in which I still keep in touch with. He has been a very positive influence in my life and has set a good example.

Cater’s last role model is the current USD 232 Superintendent, Dr. Frank Harwood.

“I’ve worked with him going on seven years and have learned a lot from him. It’s been a pleasure to grow professionally with him,” Cater said.

With Dr. Gibson taking over Dr. Harwood’s department from the district will definitely not go unnoticed.

“The thing that I always try to remind myself with humility is that the school district  will keep moving forward, no matter who is in ‘charge’,” Cater said. “There would definitely be a transition period, but it’s also an exciting time because it’s an opportunity for the district to keep moving forward.”

This transition of power also comes at a time in which the community and district is about to grow immensely.

 “In the next 5-10 years the district will grow as communities grow, increasing student enrollment. The city of De Soto will grow both economically and population wise, that’s an exciting opportunity, I’m looking forward to it,” Cater said.

Cater is confident that Dr. Harwood has left the organization better than when he arrived.

“We have accomplished a lot in the last seven years and I am excited about the next seven years,” Cater said. “I think that he (Dr. Gibson) will be great and I think that our staff and parents should realize that he is not Frank Harwood. He will bring his own strengths and perspectives to the role.”

The process that the district’s Board of Education has to go through to hire a new superintendent is a lengthy process. There are currently seven school board members, one of the most important things that they have to do is hire a new superintendent.

“We posted information that the Board of Education was looking for a superintendent, using GR Recruiting, which is an executive search firm that helps school districts across the country,” Cater said.

With the help from GR Recruiting, the district looked for people that might not have applied to the job, but are a good fit, expanding a school’s reach.

“The process included a community survey, in which parents, staff and even local community business leaders were asked questions like what are the most important qualities, management styles, etc that the next superintendent should have,” Cater said. “They developed a profile from that survey feedback and that’s the person that they were seeking.”

After the application window closed, there were 21 applicants to be considered. After working closely with GR Recruiting the board was able to narrow it down to nine, then to five and eventually to three finalists.

“With several hours of interviews, the board of education last week selected the person that they believe best meets the profile of what we need in a superintendent,” Cater said.

While Cater is not looking forward to the departure of now superintendent Dr. Harwood, he is excited to have new mindsets and ideas from Dr. Gibson.

“We have to be about the academic success of each individual student; that is our core mission,” Cater said. “The next piece to that is that we are going to have some growth challenges and how can we maintain the excellence that we have, but also improve. We’re not perfect as a school district, we have to improve.”

With a change of this magnitude the district can expect to be granted with new opportunities, ideas and many changes.

“We think that this is an opportunity to move the district forward. When you have a new leader like Dr. Gibson, they come in with fresh perspectives and ideas.” Cater said. “He is all about engaging staff, parents and students.”

The district is excited for Dr. Gibson’s arrival and are eager to see what the future holds.