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Derry new Utopia ISD superintendent

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Michael A. Derry has been hired as superintendent for the Utopia Independent School District to succeed Jessi Milam, who is moving to the superintendent’s post at a Big Bend area school district.

Derry, a 24-year employee with the Bandera Independent School District, was hired by the Utopia school board on May 18 after beating out 21 other applicants.

He has a three contract at $90,000 a year and officially starts July 1.

Derry said his contract with BISD ends June 1, but he took unused vacation time to visit with Milam as Utopia ISD’s outgoing superintendent to begin the transition process.

The incoming UISD superintendent said he will also be at the Utopia school district during the period before the starting date for his contract date to get more familiar with operations there.

Derry, who was BISD’s career and technical educational coordinator, said he never thought about being a superintend but applied for the Utopia opening after two Utopia teachers he know urged him to consider applying and talking with his wife about the change.

UISD school board President Steve Darden said Derry just stood out among the nearly two dozen candidates.

“We voted for Michael to be the lone finalist because he is the perfect candidate for Utopia ISD superintendent. He was born in Medina, and he knows a lot about Utopia and Bandera County. He is one of us,” Darden said before the May 18 school board meeting that finalized the selection.

“It is very emotional for me to leave BISD family because I have a strong connection with a lot of people, especially with the children,” said Derry, who lives midway between Utopia and Bandera. “I hope the best for everyone.”