FLORENCE — Public schools in Florence have a new leader.

The Florence Independent School District Board of Trustees unanimously selected Sam Atwood as the district’s newest superintendent Thursday night.

Atwood, 65, a longtime educator from Bastrop, has been the district’s interim superintendent since December, replacing former top administrator Karla Moyer, who left the district to take a new job at the Region 13 Education Service Center in Austin.

Atwood called the Florence school system, which has three schools and less than 1,000 students, a “diamond in the rough.”

He said when he filled in as the interim superintendent a few months ago, he didn’t think he would apply for the permanent job. But the school system grew on him, Atwood said, noting the quality teachers and students.

“It has a tremendous amount of potential,” said Atwood, who began his education career 41 years ago as a teacher in Magnolia.

His last job was as superintendent of the Goliad Independent School District in South Texas.

“It’s a very rewarding profession. I’ve always been a teacher first,” said Atwood, a former football and track coach.

School board members seemed relieved with the pick, which capped off a five-month search for a new superintendent that began last October.

The board held 21 meetings, sifting through applications and coming up with a game plan for hiring the new superintendent, said board President Craig Clark.

He called Atwood “a very hard worker, very detail-oriented.”

Atwood’s yearly salary is $106,000, according to his contract. There is no car allowance or similar add-ons, Clark said.

“We felt that would be more transparent,” he said.

Contact Jacob Brooks at jbrooks@kdhnews.com or (254) 501-7468

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