LAWTON, Okla. (TNN) - As Lawton Public Schools prepares for students to soon return to the classroom, a goal the school board was able to accomplish before the school year gets underway is choosing an interim superintendent.
They chose Dr. Tom Thomas after the departure of Dr. Tom Deighan at the end of June.
Dr. Tom Thomas retired three years ago, after more than 40 years in education. Now, he said he’s excited to continue working within the Lawton community.
“I was very flattered when the Board called and asked if I would consider providing interim leadership, and I’ve spent 55 of my 69 years in Lawton," said Dr. Thomas.
During his career, Dr. Thomas served as the superintendent at the Great Plains Technology Center. He said he has a passion for education, and for this city.
“I just felt like the district was in need, and I had the time, and hopefully the talents to be able to help out,” said Dr. Thomas.
WIth an interim in place, the board said they will now focus on finding someone who fits specific criteria to fill the role on a permanent basis.
'Do they have large district experience, such as LPS, have they dealt with large bond issues. Those are a few questions that we want a new superintendent to know," said LPS Board President Carla Clodfelter.
Despite having those qualities, Dr. Thomas said his future with LPS won’t go past this next school year.
“Best case scenario, they will find a superintendent around Christmas, then I will finish out the year, and they will be here in June,” said Dr. Thomas.
The board said they brought back a former administrator to help boost the staff while the search process for the superintendent, and the assistant superintendents continue.
“We have an interim CCFO, Dr. Ken Baden, and they are working closely together,” said Clodfelter.
“We’re very blessed Dr. Ken Baden, long-time administrator here, chose to come back and assist the district. He has provided wonderful support,” said Dr. Thomas.
Even with no interest in a long-term stay, Dr. Thomas said he wants to make a difference any way he can.
“One of the things we really want to do is gain a unity of the community, as we try to find a permanent replacement. We want to be a town they want to come too, and we want to be unified in our approach to support of the school," said Dr. Thomas.
The search process for finding replacements is between the school board and the Oklahoma State School Board Association.
Clodfelter said with their help, they will be able to smoothly transition LPS into the future.