The Ardmore City Schools Board of Education approved a mutual separation agreement with superintendent Sonny Bates during a special meeting on Tuesday. In addition, the board approved hiring Kim Holland as the new superintendent. Holland previously worked at ACS as the high school principal from July 2011 to May 2014.
The mutual separation agreement with Bates is effective beginning Aug. 31. Holland will start as the “superintendent designate” today and will take over officially as superintendent on Sept. 1. Bates has served as superintendent for ACS for five years. In a press release provided by the board after the meeting, the board thanked and applauded Bates’ work in the district during his tenure.
“During his tenure at Ardmore, Mr. Bates led a diverse group of community members, staff and parents through strategic planning which resulted in the success of passing a $31 million bond for improvements across the district. Those improvements included a new roof at the middle school, a classroom addition and renovation project at Jefferson Elementary, a classroom addition and renovation project at Will Rogers Elementary, a brand new Lincoln Elementary and improvements to the field house, Noble Stadium and the track. We wish Mr. Bates well in all his future endeavors,” the board said in the release. Bates did not attend the meeting.
Bates’ contract was extended in December of 2015 and was meant to last until June 30, 2019. The terms of the mutual separation agreement were not disclosed during the meeting.
The board met in executive session for a short period of time and then approved the two measures. The board room was filled with teachers, administrators and citizens as the board began the meeting. ACS Board of Education president Lori Capshaw said the move is an exciting step toward the future of the district.
“We are excited to what’s ahead for Ardmore City Schools and looking forward to the next chapter and what can be done,” she said. “We have been working on this for months and this is a mutual agreement.”  
The terms of Holland’s contract as superintendent are the same as Bates’ contract, according to the board. Holland will start work this week and work with Bates in preparation of taking the torch for the district. Holland, who has retired twice, said while the move wasn’t something he expected to be doing, his love for the community of Ardmore is what brought him back.
“It wasn’t part of my master plan,” Holland said. “But this is one of the few jobs I’d come out of retirement for.”
Holland was previously the Ardmore High School principal and is familiar with the area. He also has extensive experience during his 35 year career, serving as a principal, superintendent and executive director in Texas, his home state. During his time in Ardmore, parents and teachers applauded his activeness in student activities and the community, as the release from the board states.
The adjournment of the meeting was met with applause and Holland, who attended the meeting, was greeted with handshakes and hugs from members of the community and ACS staff.