Dr. Doug Brubaker will begin the job as Fort Smith Public Schools superintendent on Jan. 18 after being selected by a unanimous vote of the Fort Smith School Board on Dec. 15. It was initially estimated he would begin in July.
His contract begins on Jan. 16, but he will take two unpaid leave days on Jan. 16 and 17 to move from his home in Garland, Texas, where he serves as the associate superintendent of Garland ISD. Prior to that, he served for six years as the assistant superintendent of Mansfield ISD in Mansfield, Texas.
Brubaker was one of two finalists culled from an initial list of 12 selected by Iowa-based recruiting firm Ray and Associates. He met with the board as well as teachers, administrators, staff, media, and community leaders, last Wednesday in a daylong interview/meet-and-greet that resulted in an offer the following day.
Since then, more details surrounding his contract and role have been finalized, including pay. The position was advertised with an annual salary of $210,000, use of a district car, and participation in the state’s insurance and retirement programs. Dr. Brubaker confirmed that compensation package to Talk Business & Politics on Tuesday (Dec. 20).
Also, Dr. Gordon Floyd, acting superintendent, will continue to fulfill the daily duties of the position through June 30 at the position’s current rate of pay, $202,000. This was also the salary of former Superintendent Dr. Benny Gooden, who retired from the post in April. Floyd will resume his position as deputy superintendent the following day.
Brubaker will likely spend his first six months on the job getting his bearings and taking lead on efforts to push for a millage increase.
Fort Smith School Board President Dr. Deanie Mehl told Talk Business & Politics in an interview prior to Brubaker’s hiring she was unsure if the new superintendent would play a role in selling a millage increase to voters. At the time, it wasn’t clear if the district would be able to hire an administrator with a start date before the fall semester. But after board members voted unanimously to hire Dr. Brubaker last week, the door opened.
Mehl said immediately following the vote, “With him starting right after the holidays, it makes sense he will be the face of the millage campaign. We first started looking at it (need for millage increase) in 2010, and he has overseen major renovations in Garland. In fact, they just had a millage increase of almost $500 million, so he’s dealt with this sort of thing before, coming in on time and under budget. So I think he’ll be a real asset.”
One of the most impressive things, Mehl said, was his “hands-on approach” to leading the district. Referring to his 100-day plan, she said, “I was excited with his plan to visit all the campuses, and to visit with all of the employees and administrators. He really has a hands-on approach in that he wants to meet everyone in the district and community as well. He is someone that will be the face of our district and will be out on the campuses, visiting classrooms and teachers.”
As part of the proposed millage increase, the district hopes to address renovations on at least five buildings, including construction of tornado shelters at Southside and Northside High Schools as well as continued technology improvements across all 29 schools.
Brubaker said he hopes to have his 100-day plan finalized and available on the Fort Smith Schools website by Jan. 18.