Orr Set to Retire As HPISD Superintendent

Dawson Orr
Dawson Orr

Dr. Dawson Orr announced on Monday that he will retire as Highland Park ISD superintendent, effective Aug. 31.

Orr has been with HPISD for six years, and worked as a superintendent for almost 20 years before that in Pampa and Wichita Falls. Beginning this fall, he will become a clinical professor in the department of educational policy at SMU’s Simmons School of Education and Human Development.

Orr has served on the advisory board for the Simmons School, and now will teach as part of a new degree plan that the university is gearing toward district-level executive leadership.

“At this point in my career, it’s very exciting for me to be engaged in developing the next generation of superintendents,” Orr said. “This is a significant transition for me.”

The district’s board of trustees likely will retain search firm Thompson & Horton to assist in finding a new leader during the coming months. The board will meet on Thursday to begin those discussions.

“It’s bittersweet. He has done so much for Highland Park,” said board president Leslie Melson. “I think the legacy of Dr. Orr will be around for a long time.”

The transition to a new superintendent for HPISD will come as the district prepares to send what will likely be the biggest bond initiative in its history to voters this fall.

Orr said he plans to assist during the transition however he’s able, but said the bond initiative will be finalized and next year’s budget set before his departure.

“Our goal is to have the bond proposal completely defined and ready to go, and have next year’s budget completed and our staffing levels where they need to be,” Orr said. “We’re going to ensure that person has a great situation to step into.”

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