Twenty years ago Khristopher Marshall perceived his career opportunity with Avalon ISD as a stepping-stone before relocating to a larger district.
The 1992 Ennis High School graduate always figured he would teach at his alma mater. He will soon serve as the eighth superintendent if Avalon ISD.
During the regular board of trustee meeting on Thursday, Marshall joined the trustees and the current superintendent, Dr. David Del Bosque, to help facilitate.
Marshall started out as a fifth-grade classroom teacher and coach with AISD, later serving as the district assistant principal and, for the past 10 years, as the high school principal.
He assisted with all the established athletic programs, as well as launched the softball program and aided with the establishment of the football team.
The current superintendent had always been on the sideline, motivating Marshall with his next career move. Marshall admitted he always enjoys a challenge, and the influence from Del Bosque pushed him to obtain his master's degree and other certifications.
“It was basically following him and tagging along behind him learning as much as he knew and whatever he would teach me," Marshall explained. "I know that he’d be honest with me and that’s what I enjoyed about it.”
There are two ideals Marshall learned from Del Bosque that he would definitely implement as superintendent: Put the kids first and care for the staff.
His short-term goal is to analyze areas of improvement.
“We always talk about that we want to leave things better than what it was when you got there," Marshall elaborated. "So it’s kind of hard now trying to follow these shoes.”
When asked what makes Marshal so special to the district and education, Del Bosque first pointed out his "global view," being meticulous with details, being forward thinking and his ability to balance different tasks.
“When looking at the future, he is the best candidate,” Del Bosque boasted. “The board made the right choice.”
Marshall and Del Bosque meet twice a week for at least one hour to review superintendent responsibilities, budgets and where resources are located.
A LEGACY STEPS DOWN
When Del Bosque began his career in education 25 years ago, he wanted one thing — to be involved in a baseball program.
Former principal Mark Chesley went to the home of Del Bosque and asked him to work with Avalon ISD as an ESL teacher for kindergarten through 12th-grade.
“Kindergarten through 12th was all in this one building, and we had one section of everything," Del Bosque recalled. "The first day I came out it was loud in the hallway.”
Coming from a Catholic school, Del Bosque questioned if Avalon was the right environment. He recalled when the 11:15 a.m. bell rang for lunch the kids walked home to eat.
“They all ran, and I thought, ‘Where the heck are they going?’ They are running home for lunch, and then they would run back to get here on time. It was different for me.”
He continued, “We were out there, and Chesley said, ‘I hope you stay here a long time.’ It was 25 years ago when he said that.”
As he recalled the sentimental moment, Del Bosque took a minute to gather himself before he continued the story of his tenure.
The one-campus district continued to grow and eventually added a separate high school building. Del Bosque also experienced the opening of the multipurpose center during 2002-03. The monolithic dome gymnasium has a diameter of 124 feet and has a seating capacity of 720. The structure also serves as the community storm shelter.
Del Bosque said he was proud to have established the Superintendent Super Egg Hunt during Easter with this year marking the 10th anniversary for the event.
He also recalled that, after a tornado came through campus and hit the gymnasium, the district was passionate about preserving the building constructed in 1939. It was eventually repurposed and now incorporates air conditioning and multipurpose flooring.
Del Bosque is also a historian and reads every yearbook cover to cover, going so far as to create a Facebook page to highlight the district’s history called "Avalon ISD — A Historical Perspective."
Del Bosque noted his most substantial impact on the district was when the first two students graduated with their associate's degree three years ago.
“We made that happen here, and it took a lot of planning to make it happen," Del Bosque said. "The kids end up paying nothing for their degree. That’s big for a little town in the middle of nowhere.”
“Out of all the things that I’ve done here that’s the thing I really value because it took so long to make it happen," he emphasized.
Del Bosque’s last day is June 30 and Marshall will take over all responsibilities on July 1.
A party will be hosted in Del Bosque’s honor on May 18 that will take place at the J.P. Griffith Gymnasium. Tickets are on sale for $7.50 for adults and $5 for children. Funds raised will contribute to the Avalon Orange and White Scholarship Fund and the Riley-Dirk Human Resources Fund.
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Ashley Ford | @aford_news | 469-517-1450