With diverse educational experiences as a classroom teacher, coach, and administrator in a variety of school and community settings, Tim Harkrider was named Superintendent of Willis ISD in July, 2013.
Under his leadership, the district has achieved the highest rating of “Met Standard” under the state of Texas accountability system for four years in a row. Since 2013, Willis ISD schools have earned a total of 15 Distinction Designations.
The Harkrider philosophy is that test scores can never define Willis ISD. However, students must be prepared for success on state exams as well as for success in the global job market of the 21st century.
To that end, Harkrider has led a digital transformation of instructional practices by ensuring that all elementary campuses have classroom sets of digital devices (over 1,000); and by providing secondary campuses with a total of 3,300 mini-laptops on classroom carts.
Other accomplishments include the passing of a $109.5 million bond - the largest in Willis ISD history; addition of the Wildkat Wellness Center which provides free medical care for insured employees and their family members; and creation of the R.I.S.E. student mentoring program, which serves 75 students at two campuses and is currently expanding to additional campuses.
Harkrider also believes that success is fostered by building positive relationships with students, parents, staff and the community. Helping students be successful is a team effort by administrators, teachers, counselors, support staff and parents.
Teamwork has been a life-long endeavor for the All-American from the University of Texas. He played professional baseball with the Anaheim Angels in the mid-1990’s before an ankle injury changed his career path.
He started coaching and teaching in 1999 and quickly began breaking records, winning championships and garnering accolades.
As a social studies teacher, he gained valuable classroom experience in Gladewater, Longview, Kilgore and White Settlement. In Grand Prairie, Texas his skills as an administrator became apparent.
He was an Assistant Principal in 2009 when South Grand Prairie High School first received a Recognized rating. His administrative accomplishments also include leading a GPISD elementary school to its first Exemplary rating in 2010 under the TAKS system.
As a principal at GPISD’s Reagan Middle School, he led the campus to achieve the first Exemplary Middle School rating in the history of GPISD in 2011. The school also received Gold Star Awards for Comparable Improvement in Reading/ELA, Commended Social Studies and Attendance Rate.
In 2012, he assumed leadership of Willis High School. In his first year at the helm, TAKS scores for WHS juniors increased in a number of areas over the same scores last year. Most notably, the scores of the juniors rose significantly over the scores those same students posted as sophomores.
Academic accomplishments feature the completion of the Superintendent Certification Program at Lamar University and receipt of a Master of Education in Education Leadership and Policy Studies with Principal Certification from the University of Texas at Arlington. He also holds certifications in Social Studies Composite, Grades 8-12, and Secondary Health, Grades 6-12.
The Harkrider family includes wife, Toni, a dyslexia specialist with Willis ISD, and children, Dylan, 19; Reece, 15; and Meredith, 8.
“My wife and I both grew up in a small town and we want our children to experience the positive impact of a close-knit community,” the native of Carthage, Texas explained. “Genuine community support of our schools combined with a caring, dedicated teaching staff make Willis a great place to live and raise your family.”