John Wink

John Wink

CARTHAGE — A former Hallsville ISD principal and Longview ISD choir director was named as the lone finalist for Carthage ISD’s vacant superintendent position.

John Wink, current superintendent at Blue Ridge ISD near Dallas, has been named the lone finalist to succeed Carthage ISD Superintendent Glenn Hambrick.

School board trustees named Wink as their top choice after two rounds of interviews conducted last week and Monday. Wink has been serving as Blue Ridge ISD Superintendent for the past two-and-a-half years, and before that he was at Tatum ISD.

“I am very humbled and honored to have been selected to be the lone finalist for Carthage,” Wink said Tuesday. “It’s a great district with lots of great things happening, and I’m excited to be a part of the district and lead the district in writing its next chapter.”

Hambrick will be retiring from his post at the end of January. The district must wait at least 21 days to formally hire Wink, under state law, and it’s expected that Wink and Hambrick will be working together during a transitional period as Wink settles in and Hambrick prepares to leave.

The board of trustees is scheduled to officially hire Wink on Jan. 7.

Wink is a graduate of Longview High School, Stephen F. Austin State University, Texas A&M-Texarkana and Texas A&M-Commerce. He started his professional career as a choir director for Longview ISD, before working in Hallsville ISD for nine years as an assistant principal and principal for the middle school, as well as principal at Hallsville High School.

Wink left Hallsville ISD to become principal at Gilmer Elementary School in 2011, but not before district officials noted all 280 seniors had passed their state assessments and would get to graduate — for the first time in the school’s history.

Wink also worked as assistant superintendent of curriculum and instruction at Tatum ISD between 2014 and 2016. Blue Ridge ISD, under Wink’s leadership, scored a B in this year’s district accountability ratings from the Texas Education Agency.

Dr. Ben Donald, school board president, said trustees were impressed and excited by Wink.

“We interviewed several awesome candidates, and I think our board is extremely excited to welcome Mr. Wink into our district,” Donald said. “I think we’re all excited to see what he brings to the children of this district.”

The district said Tuesday they received 42 applicants from three states, 18 of which were current or former superintendents and 18 of which had doctorate degrees. Trustees narrowed down the list to six interviews, with Wink emerging as the best fit for Carthage ISD.

In addition to his administrative roles, Wink is also the author of “A Leader’s Guide to Excellence in Every Classroom,” a book aimed at helping districts create support systems for teacher success. He also works as a consultant, leadership coach and speaker.

Wink was also one of 12 Texas superintendents appointed to the Texas Education Agency’s Policy Committee on Public Education Information in June. The committee is responsible for addressing policies on information and data collection requirements covering students’ educational needs.

Wink said he was drawn to the district because of its “tradition of excellence.”

“It is a very tight-knit community, and it has a rich tradition of excellence that has spanned for many decades,” he said. “Those are the things that made me really interested in the position.”

Wink added he was excited to be moving back to the Piney Woods and to come work for the district. Wink said he’s focused on several things: teachers, students and the community.

“I’m about supporting teachers, building relationships with the community and really helping our kids find excellence that’s within each and every child,” he said.

Donald said Wink’s focus on giving students what they need is what helped trustees reach a general consensus to hire him.

“His No. 1 focus is the children of this district — and educating them and giving them what they need to be successful. His focus is on making kids better,” Donald said.