Rory Gesch figured a coach’s whistle would be his life. A high school and collegiate football player, Gesch became a coach and teacher right out of college.
“I always had dreams of grandeur on the coaching side of it,” Gesch said. “But in about 2000, I looked toward administration.”
Monday night, the Navasota ISD Board of Trustees looked toward Gesch, 40, to lead the district as the new superintendent. After a closed session that lasted approximately two hours and 20 minutes, the board named Gesch as the lone finalist for the position.
“We’re very confident in his abilities,” board president John Price said. “If we scoured the state of Texas, I don’t think we could find a better candidate.”
Gesch has served as the interim superintendent in NISD since Aug. 1. Jennings Teel was the previous superintendent — from March 27, 2006 to July 31, 2009 — before leaving to become superintendent at Breckenridge ISD. Gesch said he has no plans on leaving Navasota anytime soon.
“When we moved here [in July 2006] my oldest daughter was going into the eighth grade,” Gesch said. “The biggest part was having a home for my kids. I promised her we would be somewhere where she could go to high school and be with her friends all four years.”
Chessa Gesch is now a junior at Navasota High School and plays basketball and cross country. She also participates in choir and one-act play. Kynsee Gesch is a sixth grader at Navasota Junior High who plays softball and is involved in community performances of plays.
“The same thing goes with my youngest daughter,” Rory Gesch said. “We don’t want to go anywhere anytime soon.”
Gesch was born and raised in San Angelo. He graduated from San Angelo Lakeview High School in 1987, and went on to Sul Ross State University in Alpine, where he was a second-team all-conference offensive lineman who majored in biology.
His first job came in Jourdanton, where he was a coach and a teacher. He bounced around from there to the Ector County ISD and to the Stamford ISD — just north of Abilene — where he went from the principal of an alternative campus to principal of the high school.
“Education always felt right,” Gesch said. “I’ve always felt drawn to teaching and working with kids. Coaching was another outlet to be around kids and get things out of them. It was more of a calling than anything.”
His wife, Heidi, teaches at Navasota Junior High. His brother and sister-in-law are both in education.
Even as he got into administration, Gesch never thought he would be a superintendent.
“If you work hard and take care of business the opportunity will find you,” Gesch said. “It found me and we feel so blessed.”
Gesch said he has no major overhaul plans for the district he’s been in for the last three-and-a-half years, but has one thing on his mind that should peak the interest of Navasota students.
“My first deal is to improve student learning,” Gesch said. “We’re good where we’re at, but we can be better.”
He continued to say he hopes the district will be “more engaging in the community. This community really does support our kids and wants to see them succeed.”
Gesch is someone who listens and analyzes before making a decision. He’s been in the district and understands the community. He’s worked closely with the school board and already knows the wants and needs of the district.
Now the search for a superintendent is over.
“The folks out there can now put away their rocks,” trustee Hollis Hood said.
As for Gesch, it’s time to look toward the future.
“We really do have some outstanding students,” he said. “We’ve got our rough edges, but we got our things we’re trying to work through. We all have an ultimate goal to have a successful school district.”
The board will officially name Gesch as superintendent at the Jan. 11 meeting.