Brian Gray

Harleton ISD has a new chief at the helm as it prepares for the start of the 2019-20 school year next month.

Trustees elected former longtime Union Grove ISD Superintendent Brian Gray as superintendent of Harleton ISD on July 5, Gray said Thursday.

Gray officially began work at the district on Monday. Gray signed a three-year contract with Harleton ISD though the district has not yet released other details of Gray’s contract.

Before returning to East Texas this month, Gray spent the past year serving as chief of Irion ISD in west Texas.

Gray said in June after being named the Harleton ISD lone finalist that he was looking forward to returning to the Piney Woods.

“My family and I are very excited to be headed back to East Texas,” Gray said previously.

“Green is my color,” Gray said, referring to both Union Grove and Harleton ISD’s school colors.

Gray served as Union Grove ISD superintendent from 2007 to 2018, when he left to take up the post as chief of Irion ISD.

Gray said he enjoyed his time at Irion ISD, but his family was looking forward to returning to friends and family in the East Texas area.

“I’m very familiar with both the Harleton ISD school district and the Harleton community,” he said. “They are an outstanding school district. We’ve had a great experience here in west Texas and we’ve done a lot, but it is better for my family to come back to East Texas.”

Gray replaces Interim Harleton ISD Superintendent Sandra Spencer, who has served since former Superintendent Craig Coleman was placed on paid leave in early 2018 then later resigned. Coleman had served as Harleton ISD superintendent for more than a decade when he left.

Spencer has also served as assistant superintendent at Harleton ISD from 1998-2002 and as assistant superintendent at Jefferson ISD for seven years.