FORT WORTH The superintendents of the Dallas and Fort Worth ISDs announced their resignations on the same day last year.

But while DISD's search for a new leader remains in its infancy, Fort Worth announced a lone finalist for the superintendent's job on Tuesday night.

Interim superintendent Walter Dansby has won the title in a historic and important choice for a district that serves 80,000 students.

Dansby has promised to turn the district around in one year, noting that he's already had a seven-month head start.

The 38-year veteran of the Fort Worth ISD believes the district can prepare teachers and students for new testing that will improve scores at low-performing schools.

In a couple of months, Dansby wants to roll out a plan for assurances that will put staffers and parents at ease.

Music played by the North Side High School Mariachi Band seemed to lighten the mood going into the school board chambers on Tuesday evening. But past the smiles and through these doors, a real since of the serious burden now on the shoulders of the city's next superintendent of schools.

Walter Dansby received a standing ovation as this veteran educator sets out on his new role. He believes the most pressing issue facing the district right now is the budget.

The first thing that I really want to do is to resolve the issues that we have right now with the budget so that we can make sure that we have people at ease as we go through the next calendar year, he said.

He will go about it while working with the same school board that's faced criticism from parents and the community for being overly political and secretive.

Dansby remains optimistic, though, about what they will be able to accomplish. One of the things that people don't understand this school board I've known for a long time; I've known them for a long time as individuals, he said.

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