Cone’s contract extended through 2021

The Natalia ISD School Board gave Dr. Freeman Hensley Cone a contract extension through the 2020-2021 school year.

Natalia ISD Superintendent Dr. Freeman Hensley Cone agreed to the terms of a two-year contract extension to stay in the district through the 2020-2021 school year.
The Natalia ISD School Board offered Cone the extension at the Regular meeting on Monday, July 10.
“It is an honor to serve the students, parents, teachers and community of Natalia ISD,” Cone said. “It was rewarding to be granted a two-year extension on my contract until the end of 2021.”
Board President Eric Smith said the Board’s relationship with Cone was the best first-year rapport they’d had with a Superintendent over the past decade.
“We felt like offering a two-year extension was a sign of commitment and trust on our part,” Smith said, adding that he believed it was the first two-year extension offered to a Superintendent in the last 30 years. “This extension was offered not just because of Dr. Cone’s work, but because of what his administrative team and the district have achieved.”
Cone echoed Smith’s sentiment.
“The growing trust the school board has in our administration is foundational to the work we do in providing a quality education for all kids,” Cone said. “We have assembled a great administrative team to support a great group of teachers.”
The amended contract doesn’t include a raise to Cone’s yearly salary of $140,000, but added a provision that allows him to live outside the school district. Cone and his family currently live just outside the district boundaries, but inside the Natalia ZIP code.
The Board passed a $400,000 deficit budget for the 2016-2017 school year, but Business Manager Barbara Flores said she expected the district to end the fiscal year on August 31 with approximately a $12,000 surplus.
Smith said that while the district hadn’t yet achieved its academic and financial goals, “we have faith Dr. Cone will take us where we need to go.”
Cone and his team of administrators have the district well on its way.
“We look forward to many great things this school year as we begin our first year with a new five-year strategic plan our Board of Trustees approved at the end of this past school year,” Cone said. “We are increasing college and career readiness by implementing Achieving Via Individual Determination (AVID) at all of our campuses. All 8th, 9th, 10th, and 11th grade students will be taking during the school day and for free the Practice SAT (SAT) and our 11th grade students will also be taking the SAT (with reading) in the Spring Time.”
Additionally, Cone said that all students will have free breakfast and lunch during the 2017-2018 school year.
“We consider ourself an open-enrollment school and do not charge tuition,” Cone said. “We look forward to great things in 2017-2018.”
Before coming to Natalia, Cone previously served as interim Assistant Superintendent for Curriculum, Instruction, and Accountability at San Marcos CISD. In addition to a Bachelor of Science degree in Microbiology with a minor in Chemistry from Texas State University, Cone holds a Masters in Educational Administration and a Doctorate of School Improvement.
Cone was initially hired in August 2017 on a three-year contract, replacing former Superintendent Michael Steck.
By Marly Davis
Staff Writer