It's out with the old (again), in with the new at Cumby ISD
New superintendent takes over from retired educator Bruce Fielden

Faith Huffman | News-Telegram News Editor

Bert Vandiver gets settled in his new office Wednesday morning as the new superintendent at Cumby Independent School District.
Staff Photo by Angela Pitts

July 6, 2005 - Cumby Independent School District has hired a new superintendent, and that means longtime Hopkins County educator Bruce Fielden, for the second time in eight years, has stepped down as the top administrator at the district.

"I've retired again," Fielden said Wednesday. "We went over there four years ago to help out and stayed. While we were there we had the experience of building a new high school for the community. The school has accomplished a lot of different things both athletically and academically. It was a positive experience."

The first time Fielden came out of retirement to assist Cumby ISD,he was interim superintendent for the district from July through November. He has also served twice as superintendent at Sulphur Bluff ISD, where he not only graduated from high school in 1949 but retired after 42 years as an educator. He has also been called upon since to assist Chapel Hill and Melissa school districts as well.

Although not directly responsible, Fielden did sit in when the board conducted the screening process for his successor, Bert Vandiver.

"We looked at credentials and what the person could bring to the community," Fielden said. "He plans to be there a while."

Vandiver said he plans to commute to Cumby from Greenville, where his wife Vicki will work in Greenville ISD as a reading teacher. He explained that he and his wife were unable to find housing in either Cumby or Sulphur Springs, thus their move from Liberty to Greenville.

Cumby's new superintendent has 31 years of educational experience, including 17 years as a coach and teacher, 12 years as a high school principal, and for the last two years has served as director of auxiliary services at Liberty-Eyleau ISD, essentially acting as an assistant superintendent.

Vandiver and his wife have lived in and worked as educators in numerous locations, including Canyon, Hart, Livingston and Liberty, but he considers Dalhart his hometown. He earned his master's degree from Stephen F. Austin University in Nacogdoches and enrolled in Cappella University in Minnesota's online doctoral program.

Vandiver said he hopes to continue the growth and progress at Cumby which Fielden assisted in, with the construction of even better facilities for the students. He extends his "open door" policy to parents and community members and encourages them to "come by and talk" with him.

During his career he has adopted the policy that "all children can learn" and that "success breeds success."

"All children can learn," he emphasized. "I believe that. Not all students are college-bound. I believe we should provide a quality education to each... to provide them with the tools they need so they can survive in society and be successful. We need to look more at the kid and not at the goals of legislators.

"I think success breeds success. If you make them successes at school they will succeed at life," he added.

Vandiver attended his first board meeting as Cumby superintendent this week and is trying to assimilate every bit of information he can about the district in an effort to better grasp district needs and better serve the students.

"We tried to leave it in good condition for him," Fielden said. "I wish him all the success in the world."

Fielden said that he plans to spend his retirement dedicating more time to various committees and organizations that he has continued to serve over the past four years.

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