Hoyer, the new Skidmore-Tynan Independent School District superintendent here, originally is from Minnesota.
“But I got here as fast as I could. There’s something about Texas that appeals to me. Thirty years later, I’m still here.”
A glance at his resume goes a long way in explaining why S-TISD trustees chose him to replace their former superintendent, Dr. Brett Belmarez.
It says he has been in education since he was graduated from St. Cloud University in 1984 and earned a doctorate in educational administration at the University of Texas in 2013. But, in conversation, it started years before.
He was the eldest child in a rural family and knew he was going to be the first in his family to attend college.
“In junior high, I came under the guidance of teacher-coaches who were very influential. I caught it just right. I had a bunch of gentlemen who helped direct me and who made an impression about the good things that can be done both as a coach and as a teacher.
“I can’t say, right then, that I wanted to be a teacher. But, I tucked that thought away and later found my niche.”
He followed the principle in his early years of teaching — at Santa Rosa, Texas — by also coaching. In 1986-1987, he was named Coach of the Year in District 32-AAA Basketball.
He also was named Teacher of the Year while working at the North East Independent School District in San Antonio and named Principal of the Year while principal at Bush Middle School in San Antonio.
Having worked both for large, cosmopolitan school districts — some with as many as 1,800 students — Hoyer says he prefers the atmosphere of the rural. S-TISD enrollment is 750.
“I was looking forward to a country school, Friday night football and all that.”
Hoyer raises cattle on 60 acres in Gillett, about 25 miles northeast of Karnes City. “The ranch life appeals to me. It’s not just a job here; it’s a place where I call home as well. I’m connected to this area. I value the way people in this area see things — the whole, small-town attitude.”
Since he started at S-TISD, he has been dribbling and shooting hoops with the budget while wearing a T-shirt embroidered with an S-TISD logo.
“We have to adopt a budget by the end of August. That’s been taking up a lot of the time now. We have some financial challenges like everyone else does.”
Beyond the bookkeeping, Hoyer also is focusing on enrollment.
“We rely on transfer students,” he says. “That’s the reality that I’m learning. You’ve got to have kids if you want to stay open. I want to do everything I can to keep our enrollment what it is.
“If we had unlimited funds,” he says, “I would move us to an electronic format. Now, having said that, I still like to have a textbook in my hands. I guess I’m old-fashioned. But, as educators, and as adults, we’ve got to embrace that and learn it. That’s their world, and that’s the future.”
Scanning the budget papers that fill every inch of space on his desk, he adds, “But, it’s expensive. And, you know, you jump on one thing, and it’s outdated. And, yet, we want to open doors for students, not close them.
“It’s not about the electronic device or the textbook, though. It’s about the good questions that you wrestle with. That’s what good teaching is. What kind of questions evolve from the resources that you use?”
It's too early for changes, Hoyer says.
“I’m going around trying to build relationships with people here. When you start cultivating relationships, you can get more done. I believe that.
“I have a deep respect for teachers, people who can get up in front of kids and help them to understand and to question what they know. Teachers are wonderful people because it takes a tremendous amount of energy, all year long, every day. It’s a demanding and exhausting job, and they earn their pay. It makes me always want to get up in the morning and come to work to help them.
“There’s good people here, They are hungry for direction and leadership, and I hope to provide that.”
Bill Clough is a reporter at the Bee-Picayune and can be reached at 358-2550, ext. 122, or at beepic@mySouTex.com.