Flores to return as Natalia Interim Supe as Cone moves to La Vernia

Former Natalia ISD Interim Superintendent Dr. Alexandro Flores is stepping into that role once again with the upcoming departure of current Superintendent Dr. Hensley Cone.
Cone was named Lone Finalist for the vacant Superintendent position at La Vernia ISD last Thursday, February 27, following a unanimous 7-0 vote by that district’s Board of Trustees.
Cone came to Natalia in August 2016, and recently received a contract extension from the NISD Board to remain with the district until 2024.
There is a state-mandated 21-day waiting period before La Vernia can formally hire Cone, whose last day at Natalia is March 16.
“I want to thank Dr. Cone and his family for the huge impact they have made on our district and community,” Board President Eric Smith said. “The leadership, vision, stability, and pride he has brought to the table has been second to none.”

From left to right are Natalia ISD Board members Andrew Besa, Mireya Vanderslice, Tiffany Rodriguez, Eric Smith, outgoing Superintendent Dr. Hensley Cone, Interim Superintendent Dr. Alexandro Flores, Fernando Garza, Paul Almendarez, and Gordon Gentry.
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Natalia’s Board chose Flores to shepherd the district through the transition period during a Special meeting on Monday, March 2. Flores will be in transitional meetings with NISD administration March 5 and 6 before taking over on March 16.
“I would like to thank the Natalia ISD Board of Trustees for placing their trust in me to assist them during this transitional time for their district,” Flores said. “NISD has made great strides under the leadership of Dr. Cone and I know many folks are sad to see him go yet at the same time happy for him personally as he moves forward with his professional career goals and aspirations.”
Smith was full of praise for Flores, with whom he worked during Flores’s first tenure in the district.
“When Dr. Flores was in our community, he made an impact on everyone he made contact with,” Smith said. “I feel 110% confident that Dr. Flores will come in, provide oversight, motivation, support and Natalia Pride when it is needed most to assure we finish he school year strong.”
Flores returns to Natalia following a year as Superintendent of South San Antonio ISD, where his accomplishments included overseeing the improvement of the district’s academic accountability rating from a 64 “D” to a 77 “C,” as well as raising the performance of all five campuses that were rated Improvement Required in 2018 under the Texas Education Agency’s old rating system to a passing standard over the course of a year.
He also secured over $1.5 million in Community Partnership Grants from the TEA and approximately $4 million in GEAR UP grants to help prepare 6th and 7th graders for college and career readiness over the next seven years.
Prior to his stint at SAISD, Flores spent three years as Superintendent of Palacios ISD, where all the campuses “Met Standard” under the old TEA rating system, high school performance on AP college readiness exams increased by 51 percent, and a full day Pre-K was established.
Additionally, PISD upgraded cafeterias and restrooms across the district, eliminated $200,000 in yearly losses in the Food Service department, and increased the fund balance by $1.2 million.
Before his move to Palacios, Flores served as Assistant Superintendent at NISD from 2013 to 2015, and as Interim Superintendent from 2014-2015.
“I am certainly glad to see many familiar faces that are still here since my prior tenure,” Flores said. “These are great folks who are definitely invested and committed to the well-being and long-term success of the district.
“From this point moving forward, the goal for the district will be to continue to support faculty and staff as they proceed with plans that have already been in place in terms of campus improvement and academic performance and to successfully get the bond construction plan off the ground in order to set up the district for a strong finish to the 2019-20 school year.”

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Smith echoed those sentiments and assurances.
“Once we finish with state-mandated testing and have the final weeks of the school year ironed out, we will take the next step to decide where we want to go as a district,” Smith said. “I want to assure our administration and district that their voice will matter and we will work hard to assure that we continue to work TOGETHER and that by doing this, the focus remains on the children.
“We will find a good, quality leader who will continue down the path of success to make Natalia one of the best districts in the state!”
By Marly Davis
Staff Writer