The Linden-Kildare Consolidated Independent School District named Keri Winters as the lone finalist for superintendent during a special meeting Monday.
Winters has served for five years as principal at Linden-Kildare High School. She previously worked at several districts in the state, including Waller, Jasper, Grapeland and Flower Mound, where she served as head basketball coach and women's athletic director. She's also worked at Angelina Junior College and West Texas A&M University. She earned a bachelor's degree in math and kinesiology and a master's degree in education from Stephen F. Austin State University. Winters is also a graduate of Elysian Fields High School.
"I have grown to love the district," she said. "It's not my hometown, but it is my kids' hometown. We have kind of had a rotating door every couple of years in (this) position and I feel like we need some stability and I'm excited about taking it in a positive direction."
She and her husband, Lonny, have two children, Maggee, 8 and Nash, 6, who both attend L-K schools.
Winters replaces Interim Superintendent Roger Hailey, who was hired last year to lead the district following the resignation of Trevor Rogers, who left the district after two years.
In November 2016, voters in L-K overwhelmingly denied a $ 7.9 million bond issue for school improvements, including heating and air systems, ADA compliant restroom facilities, covered walkways, security, gym renovations at the elementary and renovations at the baseball/softball fields.
Winters said she's going to take a look at which of those improvements could be done without going for another bond issue, something taxpayers who opposed the bond recommended prior to the election.
"I would like to do a little digging into some things," she said. "Fix what we can in-house and look at if some point another bond is necessary. It's not something we'll jump on right away. With a little hard work, we can do some things to address that opposition."
Winters, who has spent the past five years engrossed at the high school, said she's going to study what's happening on the district's other campuses. She said she also wants to review the district's financial health and build relationships in the community.
"I'm open to input," she said.
During her five years as L-KHS principal, she has served on statewide committees, serves as assistant regional coordinator for Region VIII's Service Center and is on the legislative committee of Texas Association of Secondary School Principals. In 2014, she was named Principal of the Year by the Texas Rural Education Association and was selected as Region VIII Principal of the Year in 2015. She's also made 10 presentations at four different statewide administrator conferences.
"I'm committed to the district," she said. "We love the community. I love the school. My kids love the school. I'm happy to continue to make the district grow in the right direction."