For the third time in five years, the Arlington school board is looking for a new superintendent.
The Arlington Independent School District Board of Trustees unanimously voted Thursday to end Superintendent Jerry McCullough's contract early and appointed Marcelo Cavazos as interim superintendent.
McCullough's contract ran through January. McCullough, who has been superintendent since 2009, had worked for the district for more than 40 years.
After the vote, Board President Peter Baron read a short statement.
"We appreciate Mr. McCullough's service and dedication to the Arlington ISD," he said. "Throughout his 43 years with the district, he has positively impacted thousands and thousands of students and staff members, and we wish him well."
Mayor Robert Cluck said before the meeting that he was disappointed by McCullough's departure.
"He's a very talented man, so personally and professionally, I'm disappointed by it," he said.
McCullough began with AISD in 1969 as a history teacher. During his four decades with the district, he has taught junior high and high school and been a principal and an interim superintendent.
Cluck said he did not know the specifics surrounding McCullough's contract situation but said the superintendent could be a victim of circumstance after taking over the school district during tough financial times.
"There's a financial problem with schools right now because of the state," Cluck said. "He had to come in and deal with that shortfall and the only way to do that, really, unless you have other sources of money, is by decreasing employee count."
The district's slashing of staff was an unpopular move.
"It was a tough year," said Larry Shaw, president of the United Educators Association. "The cuts took a toll on teacher morale."
Cluck also said test scores last year were not as good as the district would have liked.
An AISD spokesperson said before the meeting that McCullough had not been in the office all week and was not expected back in any official capacity.
Cavazos, the district's current deputy superintendent, joined AISD in 1999 as the associate superintendent for instruction. He began his education career as an English teacher in the Mission Consolidated Independent School District in 1990. He has also taught at the University of Texas at Arlington, the district said.
"I appreciate the opportunity to serve the Arlington ISD in this capacity," Cavazos told trustees after his appointment. "I respect the trust you have in me and my ability."