A common thought among teachers is the idea that their students are like clay in the hands of the potter. For a Superintendent of schools this idea is magnified greatly since the students, teachers, budget, census numbers, traffic control and a myriad of other issues ultimately rest on their shoulders. For Bridge City’s new Superintendent, Michael “Mike” King, this is not only understood but a key reason he loves the job. King was unanimously chosen by Board of Trustees in early July to continue sculpting the school district beyond its former glory prior to the devastation of Hurricane Ike.

For King, an education career might have seemed to be his first choice.

“My father was Superintendent of the Woden ISD for 32 years,” he smiles broadly, “but for years I thought I would go into medicine.”

He goes on to explain that a mere week before he was scheduled to take the Medical College Admission Test or MCAT he came to an, now, obvious conclusion, Education is what he wanted to do. It was what he loved.

“I firmly believe there is no greater calling than teaching,” King said. “If you ask people who the top three influence were in there lives, after there mother and father, nine out of ten will say they were teachers.”

King began his path to being a main influence in 1988. With a Life Sciences degree and coaching ability, he began his career in Kirbyville. He then worked his way to becoming the superintendent of the West Rusk County Consolidated Independent School District and followed that with a stint as director of special programs with the Longview Independent Schools.
His reigning over the Bridge City Schools came through the long, tedious process required where he stood out as the lone finalist from 37 beginning applicants.

“Everyone has welcomed us with open arms,” King said. “My wife and children, we are all excited to be here. It has been about as seamless of a move as we could have asked for.”
King said they are most awe struck by the love and care Bridge City has for their community and their schools.

“Most obvious is what the district and community has done to come back from Ike,” King said. “It is impressive and inspiring and, they may not be aware of this, it is known around the state.”

The support and love the faculty and staff have for the district also galvanizes his resolve. A new elementary school ribbon cutting is upon them, despite the sad fact is that state budget cuts have run deep. For King, who is said to have a strong background in finance, that love and support will be key to making the district shine among the Lone Star state’s great schools.

“Four billion in cuts to education is our biggest issue,” King said. “That money will be gone, never to be recovered! With that cut we still have to educate these kiddos!”

King emphasizes again the great influence teachers have on students and goes on to explain, those students and their quality of education is an often overlooked key to a better economy.
“We still have to put out a quality product,” King says, “but, just as it has always been, teachers take what they are given and make gold out of it.”

Beyond the obvious budget issue, another concern facing all Texas schools this year is the ending of the TAKS test and beginning of a new testing project called STAAR or State of Texas Assessment of Academic Readiness.

“We don’t even know what it is going to look like,” King said. “Most people weren’t aware that the TAKS examined what a student learned in prior grades. What we will now see with the STAAR is testing of the subjects on their current grade level. In other words, things they have just been taught.”

With changes in the store for the district locally, such as new bus routes, new entry and exit strategies for drop off and pick up of students and others, the new testing will be something all parents, teachers and administrators will have to be thinking about.

This is particularly challenging for King since he is all of the above. King is father of three, two of his children will be in Bridge City schools. His wife, who is also an educator, will be the Elementary Librarian and no doubt, active in the district as a mother. His oldest son is freshly graduated and starting his freshman year at Texas A&M in a week.

This gives him a ‘dog in the hunt’ as the old saying goes. With two daughters actively participating in sports and academics, both parents and faculty can rest assured his goal is to achieve a high level of success.

“With my family here, I have a big stake in BCISD,” he said. “As I look around I think, ‘Why can’t we be the best in Texas?’ It will take a lot of hard work and it will be a work in progress, but with my background in coaching, I am a competitor.”

His goal isn’t simply to be the best by TA Accountability standards, but in every area.
“I want us to be the best in our athletics, our music, our academics, in our college entrance statistics,” he said. “This is a service industry, we aren’t making widgets we are educating kids.”

His smiles again, with assurance that he is willing to make the sacrifices to carry this load, and confidence he is able with the great staff and community that supports the efforts of their schools.