The Socorro Independent School District Board of Trustees officially hired Nate Carman as the district’s new superintendent during a specially called meeting Monday.

The board unanimously voted 6-0 to offer Carman a three-year contract with a starting salary of $335,000. Trustee Michael Najera was absent.

“I want to thank the SISD Board of Trustees for trusting in my experience and my tenure as a longtime educator,” Carman told the crowd of people gathered to welcome him Monday at the district headquarters.

“I know you have a long history — 60 years to be exact — of success and excellence in Socorro ISD,” he continued. “My focus will be to continue that great track record and to inspire even more excellence among students and staff.”

Carman previously served as superintendent of San Benito Consolidated Independent School District, a 9,000-student district in Cameron County, which hired him in 2017. There, his base salary was raised to $202,776 in 2019.

On top of his annual salary, Socorro ISD will pay Carman an $800 monthly vehicle allowance. Additionally, the district will cover up to $15,000 of his moving expenses.

Nate Carman speaks to the audience for the first time as the new superintendent of Socorro ISD on Monday evening. (Corrie Boudreaux/El Paso Matters)

Carman replaces José Espinoza, who resigned in May 2021 after nine years. At the time of his resignation, Espinoza was earning more than $600,000 annually in salary and benefits.

Carman’s hiring comes months after the El Paso Independent School District tapped Diana Sayavedra as its new superintendent. Sayavedra, who oversees a district slightly larger than Socorro, is earning a base salary of $277,000. She too was offered an initial three-year contract.

Board President David Morales said he believes Carman’s contract is fair for a district of Socorro’s size. Trustees looked at superintendent salaries for similarly-sized districts in Texas when crafting the contract, he said.

“Personally, I think it was very fair for the fact that he was a sitting superintendent,” Morales said. “He served (as superintendent) in two different districts and has a good track record. Everything he’s done, he’s improved and he’s been very successful where he was previously.”

Carman begins Tuesday and said students can expect to see him touring campuses when they return from spring break on March 21.

Cover photo: Nate Carman greets an attendee at the reception honoring his hiring as the new superintendent of Socorro ISD on Monday evening. (Corrie Boudreaux/El Paso Matters)

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Molly Smith has been a reporter for the El Paso Times and The (McAllen) Monitor. She’s covered education, criminal justice and local government. A Seattle native, she’s lived in Texas since 2014.