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Plano ISD superintendent Sara Bonser announces plans to retire at end of school year

Bonser, who spent 25 years in various Plano ISD roles, is the ninth North Texas superintendent to leave, resign from or retire from their post in just three months

PLANO, Texas — Plano ISD superintendent Sara Bonser is planning to retire from her role with the district, according to a press release sent out Wednesday.

Bonner, who served a total of 25 years for Plano ISD in various academic roles, told the Plano ISD Board of Trustees on Tuesday that she will retire as superintendent at the end of the school year in order to spend more time with family "at a critical time."

“Balancing work and family has always been important to me, but never more so than now that my sister is dealing with a critical illness,” Bonser said in the press release. “Retiring will allow me the opportunity to help and support my family.”

The board officially accepted Bonser’s resignation Thursday at an emergency-called meeting when they will also figure out the district’s process for selecting the next Plano ISD superintendent.

The board unanimously agreed that the search would begin within Plano ISD, looking first at internal candidates. District leaders hopes to name a lone finalist in the next few months who will be ready to step into the position when Bonser leaves at the end of the school year.  

Bonser is one of many North Texas superintendents to make similar announcements of late.

Since November 2021, nine superintendents from nine local school districts been announced to be leaving, resigning or retiring from their leadership positions.

Credit: WFAA

These nine include:

  • Plano ISD superintendent Sara Bonser (announced Jan. 26, 2022)
  • Dallas ISD superintendent Michael Hinojosa (announced Jan. 13, 2022)
  • Fort Worth ISD superintendent Kent Scribner (announced Jan. 13, 2022)
  • Northwest ISD Superintendent Dr. Ryder Warren (announced Jan. 13, 2022)
  • Hurst-Euless-Bedford ISD Superintendent Steve Chapman (announced Dec. 14, 2021)
  • Richardson ISD superintendent Jeannie Stone (announced Dec. 13, 2021)
  • Mesquite ISD Superintendent David Vroonland (announced Dec. 13, 2021)
  • DeSoto ISD Superintendent D'Andre Weaver (announced Nov. 15, 2021)
  • Lewisville ISD Superintendent Kevin Rogers (announced Nov. 2, 2021)

Sunnyvale ISD Superintendent, and Texas Associate of School Administrators President, Doug Williams said across the board, superintendents are feeling the pressure since COVID hit.

"Our education system has suffered. Especially when schools were shut down, and we didn’t have direct contact with kids," he said. "We are working to close that deficit."

Regardless, Williams said anytime a leader like Bosner retires, "it creates a void."

RELATED: In just three months, nine North Texas superintendents announce they are leaving

Bonser has spent a total of 33 years in public education, some of which included working for Rockwall ISD as chief academic officer, chief administrative officer, assistant superintendent for student and family services, and director of student and family services.

Before Rockwall ISD, Bonser worked in Plano ISD for 19 years as a teacher, assistant principal and principal, including seven years spent as principal of Williams High School. 

After her time in Rockwall, Bonser returned to Plano ISD in 2017 to serve as interim deputy superintendent before being appointed to superintendent in March 2018.

Bonser has lived in Plano for the past 30 years.

In the press release announcing her plans, Stolle said the board will accept Bonser's resignation "with great reluctance," but that the board's members understand her family's current situation.

“Plano ISD has greatly benefited from Sara’s results-driven leadership and passion for student success," Stolle said. "She will be missed tremendously by this board, the staff and the community.”

Stolle added that he believes the district remains in capable hands in large part because of Bonser's "expertise in building teams, expanding capacity and developing talent.”

“I am proud to have served alongside the most hardworking, brilliant and committed staff in the region, state and nation,” Bonser also said in the press release. “Their dedication to providing an outstanding education to the children within Plano ISD, preparing them for college and careers, is unparalleled.” 

Bonser said she will work with the Board of Trustees and administration during the transition.

“The next leader of Plano ISD can feel confident that the board and administration will continue to work together on behalf of all students,” Bonser said.

Bonser is a member of the Executive Board of the Texas School Coalition and serves as vice chair of the Region 10 Education Service Center’s Regional Advisory Committee. She is also a member of the Texas Association of School Administrators Advocacy Committee, the Coalition for Behavioral Healthcare in Collin County and the Medical City Plano Community Advisory Council. 

Bonser was recently named the 2020 Business Executive of the Year by the Plano Chamber of Commerce’s Best of Plano awards.

“I am thankful for every member of this community, every family and child I have met along the way, and wish only the best for Plano ISD in the future," Bonser said. "I will always be proud to say that I live in Plano, taught in Plano ISD and led Plano ISD.”