Thomas J. Payne will serve as principal of Hudson Bend Middle School effective July 1, Lake Travis ISD Superintendent Dr. Brad Lancaster announced. Mr. Payne replaces Mark Robinson who was named principal of Bowie High School in the Austin school district in March.
"Tom is no stranger to Lake Travis ISD and Hudson Bend Middle School," Dr. Lancaster said. "We are excited to welcome him back to The Destination District."
Mr. Payne began his career in public education in 2004 as a social studies teacher at Akins High School in the Austin Independent School District. In 2006, Mr. Payne joined Hudson Bend Middle School where he served as a social studies teacher. During his three-year tenure at HBMS, he led a number of activities and programs including serving as eighth grade team leader, student council sponsor, and Campus Assessment Team member. In 2009, Mr. Payne was named assistant principal at Canyon Ridge Middle School in the Leander school district, and two years later, served as assistant principal at Dripping Springs High School. Presently, Mr. Payne is the principal of Rooster Springs Elementary School in the Dripping Springs school district.
Mr. Payne earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in History from Texas A&M University. While in College Station, he was a member of the Corps of Cadets and was elected to the Ross Volunteer Company— the oldest student honor organization in Texas. Following graduation, Mr. Payne was commissioned into the US Army Artillery and spent five years on active duty serving in Germany, Kosovo and Oklahoma. He later earned a Master of Science degree in Educational Leadership from Texas State University and is currently pursuing a Doctorate of Education degree in Educational Leadership from Lamar University. Mr. Payne and his wife, Daisy, have two children, Lily Rose and Hayes.
"Selecting the right person to serve as school principal is a critical and oftentimes difficult decision," Dr. Lancaster added. "I want to thank the members of the interview committee for their outstanding help throughout this process. Committee members included HBMS teachers Marcella Flannigan and Dana Schrader, incoming PTO President Cara Cooper, Lake Travis Middle School Principal Jodie Villemaire, Director of Fine Arts Charles Aguillon, Assistant Superintendent for Human Resources Evalene Murphy, and Deputy Superintendent Mary Patin."
A total of 85 applications were received for the position, and nine candidates were interviewed.
"The committee recommended Mr. Payne and three other finalists to me," Dr. Lancaster continued. "These finalists were interviewed a second time by Ms. Patin, Ms. Murphy, Assistant Superintendent for Administrative and Community Services Holly Morris-Kuentz, and me. This interview with Mr. Payne, coupled with his references and wide ranging experience, only confirmed the committee’s very strong endorsement."
Senior staff will arrange a meet-and-greet between Mr. Payne and the Hudson Bend school community in the near future.