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MISD Names 30 Year Veteran Shawn Pratt as Lone Finalist in Superintendent Search

Press Release|
Shane Mauldin|
Tuesday, February 28, 2023

Shawn Pratt, McKinney ISD Superintendent Lone Finalist

McKinney, Texas – At the monthly meeting of the McKinney ISD Board of Trustees on February 28, McKinney ISD named Shawn Pratt the lone finalist in its search for the district’s next superintendent. With that announcement, the board will now observe the state-required 21-day waiting period before officially approving Pratt, who has served most recently as MISD’s assistant superintendent of student activities, health and safety.

Pratt’s career in education spans 30 years, all of it invested here in MISD as he has progressed from one position of leadership to the next.

“As the parent of two current McKinney ISD students, I could not be more excited to have Shawn lead our district,” said Board Vice President Philip Hassler. “Throughout this extensive superintendent interview process, Shawn’s passion for our district’s students and detailed plan to lead the district profoundly impressed the board. Shawn is fully committed to seeing each McKinney student succeed at their greatest potential, and he has earned the trust and confidence of McKinney ISD teachers and staff over his 30 years of leadership in our district.”

The district’s superintendent search began in December when Dr. Rick McDaniel announced his plan to retire at the conclusion of the 2022–2023 school year. MISD hired a third-party search firm and sought input from stakeholders through community surveys and focus groups to create a profile for the next superintendent.

Pratt with microphone speaking in front of audience

Shawn Pratt speaks at the NCS4 (National Center for Spectator Sports Safety and Security) Summit hosted at the MISD Community Event Center in February 2020.

The district received 26 applications from inside and outside the state. MISD Board President Amy Dankel said that the board focused on the candidates who were from Texas or had previously worked in Texas because of their familiarity with the Texas education system.

“Then, the board reviewed everyone’s files and decided to interview seven applicants from seven different districts, including McKinney,” said Dankel. “After those in-person interviews, we invited our internal candidate [Shawn Pratt] back for a second interview.” The board spent about an hour and 40 minutes with Pratt in that follow up interview and concluded that he was their choice.

Board members also shared that Pratt’s passion for MISD and his longstanding, deep rooted relationships within the district and the community were appealing qualities. Furthermore, his experience in school safety and security fulfills one of the top superintendent qualifications sought by the district.

Pratt is likely most familiar to the public for his years as MISD’s director of athletics and should be no stranger to anyone in MISD or the broader McKinney community. But, for the past three years as assistant superintendent, Pratt’s leadership role has broadened to encompass not only athletics, but also fine arts, health services and the district’s safety and security department.

In that role, Pratt has worked successfully to maintain and strengthen the district’s partnerships with the McKinney Police Department and Fire Department through monthly meetings focused on coordinated response planning and preparation.

In February of 2020, Pratt was instrumental in bringing the NCS4 (National Center for Spectator Sports Safety and Security) Summit to the MISD Community Event Center, bringing together representatives from event management, facilities operations, law enforcement, emergency management, fire, emergency medical services, technology firms and public safety agencies to discuss large event safety and security issues, identify solutions and propose future best practices. In 2021, MISD received the NCS4 Facility of Merit for Safety and Security Award. Pratt’s leadership and tireless work ethic in the arena of health services supported our school nurses and helped MISD push through the challenges of COVID-19.

“We were impressed with Shawn’s leadership capabilities,” said Dankel. “Everything that he’s been involved with he has handled well, and our two top priorities are academic excellence and safety and security. So, what he’s done with safety and security really pushed him to the top, and his competitiveness will really benefit McKinney ISD. And, he loves our kids and our teachers and our community.”

“Shawn is a leader who helps others around him become stronger leaders,” added Board Secretary Stephanie O’Dell. “He’s done great work with safety and security, and the way that he has utilized the stadium for reunification training and preparation and high profile events in athletics and fine arts has been outstanding.”

Pratt launched his career in MISD in 1992 as a student teacher and was hired by the district in 1993 at what was then Slaughter Middle School to serve as a teacher and athletic coordinator before moving to McKinney High School two years later as a teacher and assistant football coach. When McKinney North opened in 2000, Pratt was the choice to serve as the school’s first head football coach. He would remain at North until 2009 when the opportunity for a broader leadership position opened up, and he was chosen as MISD’s director of athletics.

Pratt’s 11-year tenure as athletic director brought a heightened focus on character development and academic excellence among the district’s athletes. Last year, MISD student athletes earned 782 academic all-district awards and 179 academic all-state awards.

In 2013, Pratt introduced the McKinney ISD Athletics Hall of Honor Award to recognize and honor those who distinguished themselves and made a positive impact on MISD and the community as athletes, coaches or supporters. In 2018, he played a central role in bringing the NCAA Division II National Football Championship to McKinney ISD Stadium and helped secure its return through 2025. In 2019, the city of McKinney projected an economic impact of $1.1 million as a result of the championship game and related activities.

Throughout his years in the district, Pratt has earned recognition from colleagues and professional organizations, and his leadership in athletics has extended beyond MISD:

  • Texas High School Athletic Directors Association (THSADA) Hall of Honor Inductee (2023)
  • NCS4 Facility of Merit for Safety and Security Award — McKinney ISD Stadium (2021)
  • THSADA Region 3 Athletic Director of the Year (2015, 2019)
  • THSCA (Texas High School Coaches Association) Athletic Director Committee Chair (2018–2022)
  • THSADA State Athletic Director of the Year (2017)
  • National Interscholastic Athlete Administrators Association (NIAAA) Distinguished Service Award (2016)
  • UIL District Executive Chair (2009–2020)
  • Proclamation by the City of McKinney for “Athletic Director Shawn Pratt Day”
  • Kelly Reeves State Award of Merit
  • McKinney Chamber of Commerce Excellence in Teaching Award Nominee (1999)
  • Assistant Coach of the Year (1997)
  • MHS Teacher of the Year (1995)

“I am deeply honored and incredibly grateful to serve the McKinney ISD community as superintendent,” said Pratt. “McKinney has been my home since 1992 when I began my student teaching at McKinney High School and Faubion Middle School. My wife and I have raised our three children here, and all three have benefited from an outstanding educational experience. MISD has exceptional students, teachers, administrators and board members, and I consider it a true privilege to lead the MISD family.”

Pratt lives in McKinney with Deanne, his wife of 26 years, who serves as a calculus teacher and AP coordinator at McKinney North. They have three children: Collin (24), Cade (21) and Whitley (19), all McKinney North graduates. Pratt is a member of Cottonwood Creek Church, and in his leisure time he enjoys hunting, fishing and gardening.

Pratt earned his bachelor’s degree in history from Texas A&M Univeristy-Commerce, his master’s degree in educational administration from Texas A&M University-Commerce and is currently working toward a doctorate in educational administration from Texas A&M University-Commerce.

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Shawn Pratt, McKinney ISD Superintendent Lone Finalist

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