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Michael Hinojosa is sole finalist for Dallas ISD superintendent job

Dallas ISD board of trustees vote Michael Hinojosa as sole finalist for the superintendent's job in Dallas, September 15, 2015. (Nathan Hunsinger/The Dallas Morning News)Editor’s note: This story was last updated at 6:56 p.m.

Some Dallas ISD observers are calling it “Hinojosa 2.0.

The Board of Trustees selected Michael Hinojosa on Tuesday as sole finalist for the superintendent job, positioning him to be the first person to hold the title twice.

Hinojosa was DISD superintendent from 2005 to 2011. He was selected to return to that post in an 8-1 vote.

“It’s really exciting to be back, ” he said.

Hinojosa, 59, became interim superintendent in late June after Mike Miles unexpectedly quit. Trustees must wait a required 21 days, or until Oct. 6, before extending him a contract for the job.

They took turns Tuesday lauding Hinojosa for his past and current work in the district. Even trustee Joyce Foreman praised him, after casting the only vote against naming him as the finalist.

Foreman said her vote reflected the feelings of her constituents, who raised concerns with his first stint as superintendent. But she commended him on his current work.

“Dr. Hinojosa, you have been a breath of fresh air compared to what we just went through the last three years, ” she said. “I look forward to working with you.”

Trustee Miguel Solis was a teacher in the district the first time Hinojosa was superintendent. He said that he saw first-hand the impact Hinojosa had on the district.

“You bring stability, ” Solis told Hinojosa. “You bring focus, and you bring a consistent approach that has proved to be successful.”

Hinojosa is a former DISD teacher and coach. He’s also a graduate of Sunset High School in Oak Cliff.

Trustee Edwin Flores said that Hinojosa’s background in the district and his knowledge of federal and state laws has allowed him to get right to work.

“Dr. Hinojosa brings a very, very deep knowledge of our district, ” Flores said. “We’re not training a new superintendent here. This is someone who is hitting the ground running and taking off.”

Hinojosa’s first round as superintendent was marked by improved test scores. But a low point came in 2008 with a financial debacle that caused the layoffs of hundreds of teachers.

The coming weeks will be busy for him. On Friday, teachers will learn their evaluation rating and pay level under a new system implemented by Miles. The system bases the evaluation on performance, student achievement and student surveys — instead of mainly on tenure.

It will be up to Hinojosa to work out any issues raised by the district’s 10, 000 teachers if they don’t feel it fairly assesses their work and compensation.

Another looming initiative is DISD’s Nov. 3 bond election for a $1.6 billion package of improvements. Hinojosa has said he supports the proposal, but now the district has to finalize details and educate the public about what’s in the package. He’s no stranger to big bond elections. He was running DISD when voters approved a $1.35 billion bond package in 2008.

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