MANSFIELD, Texas (CBSDFW.COM) – The Mansfield ISD School Board named a lone finalist in its search for a new district leader on Tuesday.

With unanimous approval, Dr. Kimberley Cantu is the sole candidate to be MISD’s next superintendent, according to a news release on the school district’s website.

Dr. Cantu currently serves as the district’s deputy superintendent and has worked in public education for 27 years.

Dr. Kimberley Cantu (Mansfield ISD)

MISD said Dr. Cantu is passionate about preparing students to be college, career, military and life ready through her work with the district’s strategic plan and the national Redefining Ready! cohort. She has also spearheaded the district’s social-emotional health program to address the holistic needs of students.

According to state law, the school board must wait 21 days before offering her a contract.

“We as a board felt that Dr. Cantu is truly the best fit to be the next leader of Mansfield ISD,” said School Board President Karen Marcucci. “She has a shared vision of making MISD a destination district committed to excellence, and we’re excited to see the different opportunities that will bring to our students, parents and staff members.”

Dr. Cantu’s teaching and coaching career began at Llano High School in 1992. The following year, she accepted a teaching and coaching position at Mansfield High School. She spent five years in the classroom before becoming an assistant principal and then the academic associate principal of Mansfield High School.

In a neighboring district, Dr. Cantu later served as principal, a director in curriculum and instruction and executive director of human resources. She returned to Mansfield in 2012 as a director in human resources and held various leadership roles in human resources before being appointed as the district’s deputy superintendent.

“Mansfield ISD is home, and I’m honored to have the privilege to lead such a wonderful district,” said Dr. Cantu. “It’s well known that MISD is a great place to live, learn and teach. I’m ready to continue building relationships with our students, parents, staff members and community members so that we can ensure that our students graduate confident to take on the world.”

After earning her Bachelor of Arts and Master of Arts degrees in English from Tarleton State University, Dr. Cantu obtained her Mid-Management Administrator certificate from Texas Woman’s University and received her Doctorate in Educational Leadership from Texas A&M-Commerce. She holds State Board for Educator Certification for secondary English, mid-management and superintendent.

The district said Dr. Cantu is an active member of the Mansfield Rotary Club and participates in Meals on Wheels and other service projects.

MISD’s school board began its search for a superintendent after Dr. Jim Vaszauskas announced his retirement in June.

Jim Vaszauskas – MISD Superintendent of Schools (courtesy: Mansfield ISD)

If hired, Dr. Cantu will be the second woman to be superintendent in the district’s history.