By Rebecca LaFlure

Killeen Daily Herald

Dr. Brant Myers, superintendent of Lampasas Independent School District, announced to district employees Monday that he will be leaving the school district before the end of the school year, citing that he wants to move his children closer to their grandparents in West Texas.

Myers accepted a job offer Sunday as superintendent of Jim Ned Consolidated Independent School District in Tuscola, about 15 miles south of Abilene.

"It was a very, very tough decision," Myers said.

"This job opened up, and it's near Abilene and near grandparents. You just have to take the opportunity as it comes? The decision was made based on my three kids. Family is very important to me."

An official date for Myers' departure has not been set. The requested move-in date for his new job is May 4, but Myers said the two districts are negotiating an appropriate time for him to come and go.

A public forum is scheduled for 6 p.m. Thursday in the LISD Administration Building to discuss the district's next steps for finding Myers' replacement.

Myers' announcement came during a critical time for LISD, with a new high school and Kempner elementary school currently under construction.

The community recently cooled down from a heated debate over a possible standardized dress code for next year.

LISD administrative officials presented the idea during a public forum in January, and were met with overwhelming and unexpected opposition from many people in the community.

Online message boards were flooded with angry posts, many questioning Myer's professionalism. One post even stated Myers should be ousted from his position.

Myers and LISD board members decided to halt consideration of a standardized dress code earlier this month in the wake of the public backlash.

However, Myers stressed his decision to leave was solely for family reasons.

"Everybody I work with at LISD is wonderful," he said Monday. "The school board has treated me unbelievably well. There's not even a hint of anything negative at LISD."

James Briggs, LISD school board president, said he's happy for Myers' new career opportunity, and he's confident everything will work out for the district. Briggs was informed of the news Sunday night.

"He's done a real good job for us," Briggs said. "Since he's been here, we've put $1 million a year in our fund balance, our test scores have gone up, and we've corrected many facility deficiencies."

Joni Summers, secretary to the superintendent, said Monday's announcement was no surprise, but she found out only recently he was considering accepting another position.

"I'm very sad to see him go," Summers said. "I've really enjoyed working with Dr. Myers. He has been good for the district."

Susan Carpenter, a mother of two LISD students, said she is relieved to hear Myers is moving on. Carpenter said she was immediately turned off by what she termed Myers' "my-way-or-the-highway attitude."

"Community members feel like they've been bullied into the building of the new high school and tax bond passage," she said. "He's turned this community upside down, and now he's walking away, and we're left to pick up the pieces."

Myers came to Lampasas in October 2005 after serving six years as superintendent at Sonora ISD.

He sparked a district-wide debate in 2006 over a $43.4 million bond proposal for a new high school and renovations to existing LISD schools.

The original proposal angered many Kempner residents who had been insistent on building an elementary school in Kempner.

The first proposal was subsequently voted down in November 2006.

A revised $48.85 million bond was approved in May 2007 that included plans for both a new Lampasas high school and Kempner elementary school.

Myers said the construction of the new schools is easily his biggest accomplishment at LISD.

However, he said it's affecting the lives of children on a daily basis that was most rewarding.

"You can take it all the way down to just one accomplishment with one kid," he said. "Those are big, big things that nobody sees that always make a superintendent, principal or teacher feel really good about what they're doing."

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