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Tornillo ISD selects sole finalist for superintendent

By: Gina Benitez
TORNILLO, Texas -- After more than a year without a permanent superintendent, Tornillo trustees announced Dr. Jeannie Meza-Chavez as the sole finalist for superintendent Wednesday.

"She presented herself really well. She was very straightforward. If she didn't know an answer, she flat out said so and was willing to be really straightforward with us," said Marlene Bullard, board president of Tornillo ISD.

Mesa-Chavez currently works for the El Paso Independent School District.

"With El Paso ISD, she works human resources so she knows teacher certifications, she has background in curriculum," Bullard said.

As we've reported, Tornillo ISD has had no shortage of controversy.

In November 2012 then Superintendent Paul Vranish was placed on leave after a report by the Texas Education Agency alleged he mismanaged district money.

Though it's something the district wants to leave behind, not all trustees were in favor of today's decision.

"I guess we've never had anybody from this area to apply and to be selected as superintendent of the school district and we had the opportunity this time," said Javier Escalante, Tornillo ISD trustee.

Escalante said he had another candidate in mind, one with roots in the Tornillo area.

"I'll support it with whoever is nominated and chosen, but like I said, my feelings were somewhere else," Escalante said.

In the end there were six final candidates and three were called back for a second interview. Most trustees felt Mesa-Chavez was the right fit for the job.

"She said one thing really nice about our community, that it was a little piece of heaven. We're hoping that with that kind of attitude that we will have found the right person to take our district, move our students forward and beyond," Bullard said.

KFOX14 was told no action to officially hire the superintendent can be taken for at least 21 days.