HARLETON — A former East Texas school superintendent is set to return to the area soon after being named the lone finalist for the Harleton ISD superintendent position last week.

Former Union Grove ISD Superintendent Brian Gray has spent the past year serving as chief of Irion ISD in west Texas but said he is looking forward to returning to the Piney Woods after being named the lone finalist on June 11 for Harleton ISD superintendent.

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

“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 has enjoyed his time at Irion ISD, but his family is 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 said he will travel to Harleton ISD to sign the contract on July 2, after the 21-day mandatory waiting period is up.

Gray will replace 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.