Petrus, who is in his second term on the board, is a Bobcat veteran, both as a parent and as a student. Petrus graduated from Skidmore-Tynan High School in 1982. His children also became S-T graduates in the last few years.
Of his alma mater, Petrus said, “The school serves many more students today. My graduating class had 33 students in 1982. Today’s graduating classes typically number in the 60s.
“Our high school and elementary were constructed almost 60 years ago and have been stretched beyond their capacities.”
The new president was born in Beeville and raised in the Skidmore-Tynan area. He attended Bee County College and Southwest Texas State University (now Texas State University) in San Marcos.
After he finished school, Petrus and his wife, Cathi, lived in Austin with their two sons until 1999.
Petrus is a self-employed graphic designer and runs the company Icon Creative Services. He designs ads, brochures, logos and Web sites.
Petrus said his children’s education was the primary reason the family came back to Skidmore. Also, it was close to family.
“Our kids were in a very good elementary school there,” he said. “But they were about to graduate into a school that we didn’t have a lot of confidence in.”
“I wanted my sons to receive the same quality education I received at S-TISD. My wife, Cathi, and I moved to Skidmore... so that our sons would enjoy the full academic and athletic experience that only a small school can offer,” he said. “They played most sports, raised livestock in FFA, and participated in band, one-act play and other UIL activities.”
The president said his son Joshua is now studying kinesiology at Texas State University. Zachary, his other son, is a student at Texas A&M University’s engineering school in College Station.
When he is not busy with his business, his family or the school board, Petrus enjoys small-scale gardening and is raising a small flock of chickens. He has recently taken up kayaking.
Petrus has been on the S-TISD board for nearly five years. He ran for a spot initially out of civic duty, he said.
“I thought the district was doing well and could be doing better,” the president said. “There was a lot going on with the current board that I didn’t agree with. I thought I could do some good for the school.”
Petrus declined to elaborate on what he didn’t agree with, as it is now “water under the bridge.”
The president said he had never given much thought to being president but was honored when fellow board member Ken Haggard nominated him Monday night.
“I’m grateful for the board’s faith in me, that they think I make a good candidate,” Petrus said.
The new leader said he wants the district to continue down the path it is on currently.
“The district has been improving on many levels for many years now, and I want to stay the course,” Petrus said.
The board’s most pressing matter is the bond issue that passed earlier this month, he said, adding the property for the new elementary school may start to be cleared within a couple of weeks.
“That’s going to keep our attention for a while,” he said.
S-TISD Superintendent Brett Belmarez expressed confidence in the new leadership.
“Our school board is solid,” he said. “Mr. Petrus is a veteran of the school board. He is very qualified, very smart and professional.”
Petrus received the lone nomination for president. After he was elected, James Bennett was voted vice president. The board then elected Rick Olivares to be secretary. All votes were unanimous.
“I think the board of trustees will do our district a wonderful job,” Belmarez said.