Fred Hayes to speak via video conference at Chamber Luncheon Oct. 28, 2011
Posted 10/28/2011

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The Nacogdoches County Chamber of Commerce Fourth Friday Luncheon features NISD Superintendent Dr. Fred Hayes.  He will present “A New Direction for Nacogdoches Schools.”

Video conference for chamber lunch

Get a Nacogdoches ISD update at the Nacogdoches County Chamber of Commerce Fourth Friday Luncheon. The event is noon to 1 p.m., Oct. 28 at Hotel Fredonia and is sponsored by The Daily Sentinel.

The chamber will use video conferencing software to bring speaker Superintendent Dr. Fred Hayes to the meeting. Hayes will be out of town but will participate in the presentation and answer questions from the audience.

“One of the district’s 100 day goals is for 100% of our classroom teachers to integrate an instructional technology component in every lesson every day,” said Hayes.For our students to compete in a world economy, we need great curriculum and great teachers, but for our students to excel, we must recognize that the concept of education is changing. Education today is more than what goes on inside the walls of a school. Technology has exposed our students to more learning opportunities than any time in history.

“For our students to truly excel, we need to have the best tools and technology possible. Technology that develops their problem solving skills to meet the demands of jobs that have not even been thought of yet,” he said.

Dr. Hayes’ educational philosophy includes viewing “education as the foundation of this great country and what sets the United States apart from all other countries.” He believes that every young person shall be given the opportunity to receive an education regardless of his/her economic status, race/ethnicity, competency level or any other issue.

According to Hayes, Nacogdoches ISD is committed to raising the rigor and relevance of the students with an excellent education that prepares them to not only compete – but to excel – in work and college environments.

Hayes has been an educator for the past 22 years. He served as superintendent for Athens ISD from 2006 to 2011. He is a former high school principal for Clear Creek ISD and the Jacksonville and Tyler school districts, and he is a former Texas Association of Secondary School Principals’ “High School Principal of the Year.” Hayes earned his doctorate from Baylor University and master’s in Education from the University of Texas in Tyler. He is married to Gay Lynn Hayes, and they have two children and four grandchildren.

The luncheon serves as the Chamber’s monthly membership meeting, and all from the community are invited to attend. Reservations are required by Oct. 25, and lunch is $16 at the door. Find the event registration form in this mail out and posted at A safe “pay online” option is also available. All attendees will be entered in a $50 cash drawing, and every Chamber member is entered in a $250 drawing, but you must be present to win. Both drawings are sponsored by First Bank & Trust East Texas.


Meet Dr. Fred Hayes

By Meagan O’Toole-Pitts | Posted: Monday, August 1, 2011

(Reposted with permission of Nacogdoches Daily Sentinel)

For Fred Hayes, Nacogdoches ISD’s new superintendent who has spent 22 years as an educator, his career isn’t just a job, it’s a calling.

Growing up, Hayes, the youngest of six children, said school was not a priority for him.

“My mother was a single parent,” he said. “When I was 18 months old, she left my father — from a very abusive environment, a very abusive relationship.”

Hayes’ mother found herself alone and responsible for six kids, from ages 11 years to 18 months old.

“We didn’t have running water until I was in the third grade,” Hayes said. “We didn’t have indoor plumbing at all, just an outhouse and we bathed outside.”

Hayes’ mother had run away from home at age 16 and had never before had a job, he said.

“She got a job in Jacksonville at a plastics factory and she made $84 a week,” he said. “There were times when she really thought she was going to have to give us youngest kids up to adoption.”

Hayes’ mother worked hard, stretched every dollar and kept the family together, instilling in each child a sense of compassion, he said.

“She taught me the work ethic I have,” Hayes said. “I hope that if I was ever in a situation like she was in, that I would come through like she did.”

‘I must be worth something’

In the seventh grade, a Bullard teacher came alone who changed Hayes’ life.

“I was floating along in school and not doing very well. That wasn’t the focus, to do well in school. The focus was to survive,” Hayes said. “Somehow, a gentleman by the name of Muriel Salmon connected with me.”

Salmon encouraged Hayes to take an honors-level English course.

“I did very well in that class. So, at that time, that was the confidence I needed to say ‘I can do this’ ... it changed my life,” Hayes said. “It changed the road I was going down.”

He then realized, “I must be worth something.”

Working way through higher education

When Hayes graduated from Bullard High School in 1983, he became one of five children in his family to earn a high school diploma. He then became the only person in his family to attend college.

Hayes worked nights at a plastics factory for seven years to put himself through college, he said. He started out at Tyler Junior College.

At the University of Texas-Tyler, he earned a bachelor’s degree in education in 1989 and a master’s degree in education in 1995. He earned a doctorate of education from Baylor University in 2000.

“Everyone who thinks they can’t do it, I know you can,” Hayes said. “I know you can come from a family of poverty. I know you can work at night and go to school. I know you can.”

Hayes said his motivation was not to disappoint the people that believed in him.

“After the influence that Mr, Salmon had on me, all I wanted was to be a coach. I saw what he did, so I wanted to do the same thing,” he said. “In 1989, my dream was realized. I became a coach and taught English and thought this was the greatest thing there ever was.

“And then I saw other opportunities. With coaching you influence about 100 kids a year,” he said, “as an administrator, I could influence, in Jacksonville, 1,200 kids a year.”

Becoming an ‘effective educator’

At Baylor, Betty Jo Monk, Hayes’ educational leadership professor, taught him  professionalism, he said.

“Fred is very dedicated to school improvement and making sure that all students are well educated,” said Monk, who is now an educational administration professor at Tarleton State University. “He’s a deep reflective thinker. I think he really takes in a lot, reflects, processes and translates that into action.”

Monk organized trips to Austin, Washington D.C., and London, in which Hayes and other students talked to legislators and got to see how school systems work at home and in other places in the world.

“I think to be an effective educator, you have to have a perspective that is greater than a local parochial kind of perspective,” Monk said. “Today you have to have a global perspective, so you not only need to understand what’s going on in your district but the nation, the world.”

‘Vision and determination’

Hayes served as a principal for school districts in Clear Creek, Jacksonville and Tyler. During his tenure, he was named Texas Association of Secondary School Principals’ High School Principal of the Year and Region IV Principal of the Year. Hayes served as superintendent of Athens ISD for five years until being selected among almost 60 candidates for the NISD superintendent position.

“We expect him to do great things for our district just like he did in Athens,” said NISD Board President Matt Rocco.

Hayes met all NISD campus administrators in the few days before school ended in May and “hit the ground running,” Hayes said.

“He has both the vision and determination to make this district and exemplary district,” said board member T.D. Howarth.

In 2009, Hayes was selected to attend Harvard University’s leadership institute for superintendents.

“As we’re working here in Nacogodches or some other school system, we see a great number of students in poverty, a great number of students who go home to deplorable situations,” he said. “Our community wants better for them than that, and because I’ve lived that I believe that I have the foresight to say ‘You know what, you can do that.’”

Last year, Hayes and Salmon were added to the Bullard Wall of Honor. Hayes was the youngest person to be added to the wall.

“It may sound cliché, but in the United States, we can be whatever we want to be. I believe that. I don’t believe that happens everywhere in the world, but I do believe it here because I know about my life,” he said.

Hayes has also excelled as a runner, competing in marathons without stopping to drink water during the 26.2-mile runs. He said if he stops for a drink, he’s afraid he may not start back up.

Another favorite pastime is gardening. But his favorite hobby, Hayes said, is spending time with his family.

Meagan O’Toole-Pitts can be reached at


New Nacogdoches ISD Superintendent Fred Hayes, who has spent most of his life in East Texas, said Nacogdoches feels like home. From modest beginnings in a single-parent home, Hayes said he can relate to the students of NISD, many of whom qualify for the free or reduced price lunch program. According to Hayes, a teacher who pushes students to expect more from themselves can lead the next generation to a better future.

What is your favorite book, TV show, movie and song? Book: “The Other 90%: How to Unlock Your Vast Untapped Potential for Leadership and Life” by Robert Cooper. TV show: “NCIS.” I love the investigation and suspense. Music: I listen to Texas country music. Robert Earl Keen is a favorite.

What book are you reading now? “Leadership and Self Deception: Getting Out of the Box” by The Arbinger Institute.

Hobbies? Reading, running and gardening. I really enjoy having my grandkids around when I’m gardening. I love how excited they get watching things grow.

What are your pet peeves? Laziness. My mother taught me a work ethic. She worked constantly to raise six kids and she ingrained in all of us the importance of hard work. She had expectations for us, that we would be good people and hard workers.

Rudeness. You aren’t always going to be the smartest person in the room, you won’t always be the most knowledgeable on a specific topic, but you can always work hard and be nice. Other than willingness and the want, it doesn’t take anything to be nice.

Family background? Spouse? Children? I’ve been married for 22 years to Gaye Lynn Hayes. We have two daughters and four grandchildren.

Most influential person(s) in your life? I was inspired to become an educator by a childhood teacher, Muriel Salmon. He made time for me and gave me a sense of self worth. He showed me what a caring person can do for others. Now I want to help students realize the value of an education.

Personal goals? Professional: To establish a strong vision for Nacogdoches ISD and lead our school system to excellence. I believe that the leadership, the relationships and resources are here for NISD to become a superior school system, but it is going to take hard work and commitment to our vision from our board, our staff and everyone in the community.

Personal: To be the best person I can be, the best husband, best father, best grandfather, best community member that I can be.

Second choice for a career? Why? I just don’t think there is a better career out there. There isn’t anything else that I would rather be doing, but if I couldn’t do this, I guess I would be a gardener.

If you could sit down to dinner with the four people you admire most, who would they be? Betty Jo Monk, a professor at Tarleton State University, Don Wills, Texas philanthropist, The Legend Tom Landry, and Max Lucado, an inspirational author.

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Newcomer Guide
Chamber Directory & Map
These premier Chamber publications are widely distributed throughout Nacogdoches County and beyond!
© Copyright 2005-2023 Nacogdoches County Chamber of Commerce. All rights reserved.
2516 North St., Nacogdoches, Texas 75965 • (936) 560-5533
Unless otherwise noted, no part of this website may be reproduced without written permission.
Email us with questions or comments.