Central Texas News Now continued our Black History Month coverage with our seventh local leader. Dr. Marcus Nelson is the first African-American to serve as superintendent for Waco ISD.
Central Texas News Now sat down with him to find out how he got the position and what he hopes to do with it.
He came into lead a struggling school district. It is a challenge he said he embraces.
"Long gone are the days when you just pitch and hope kids hit it. It doesn't work that way today. Today, if kids don't hit it, then teachers didn't pitch it right," Dr. Nelson said.
It is a philosophy Dr. Nelson said he is implementing in Waco.
"If a kid needs more reading, then we give them more reading. If they need more math, then we give them more math," Dr. Nelson said.
The individualized approach is what the Texas native said he uses himself.
"As tough as the challenges are in Waco, I think it's a great fit with the type of leadership I bring," Dr. Nelson said.
He said he leads 24/7. He works during the day and gets involved at night by going to everything from PTA meetings to sporting and theater events.
"All types of activities that allow me to show that I am committed to this transformation," Dr. Nelson said.
That commitment to leadership, he said, has always been a passion for him.
"When I went to college as an undergrad student, I went and said I wanted to be a superintendent of schools and my advisor said, well slow down big boy, you need to first go be a teacher, then you need to be a campus administrator, then you need to work in the central office, and then you need to be a superintendent," Dr. Nelson said.
He definitely accomplished that in a short amount of time. He first served as superintendent in Laredo ISD, and then came to Waco ISD.
"I think that it shows a testament to how far we've come as a city and a county that I can stand humbly as the superintendent of schools, but if you know the situation the way I know it in the inner cities of Waco, we still have a long way to go," Dr. Nelson said.
He said he will be there on the journey with the school district, and the city, to get where they need to go.
"I do believe I can be a bright part of their future and really rectify some of the pain that the African-American culture has experienced," Dr. Nelson said.
The Waco ISD Board of Trustees voted to hire the Dr. Nelson in April for the district's superintendent.
He was Texas Superintendent of the Year in 2014.
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