Russellville Independent Schools superintendent Bart Flener announced on Friday that he will be stepping down to take the executive director position at the Green River Regional Educational Cooperative (GRREC).

Flener will continue to work through the end of his current three-year contract with RIS through the end of June and then start his new job in July.

“I wanted to express my gratitude for the opportunity to serve alongside you for the last three years,” Flener wrote in a letter on Friday. “The Russellville Board of Education members took a chance on a “green” but very passionate rookie superintendent three years ago and it has been a wonderful ride for me both personally and professionally. I hope to be part of the Panther family in extended fashion for the remainder of my days.”

The outgoing superintendent said that he is pleased with some of the initiatives that his district has gotten started in the past three years.

“I think we’ve really put some things in motion that are really going to help move things forward,” Flener said. “One thing that definitely stands out is when we took our two schools to four schools — that is going to have more specific grade ranges that allows teaching and learning to really be dialed in for those specific students.”

Those changes included an emphasis on the preschool academy and forming a Russellville Middle School, rather than just treating it as a wing of the high school.

Flener said he was also proud of the panel reviews that students have to undertake in fifth, eighth, and 12th grades in order to move on to the next level of education — or life, in the case of high school graduates.

He also expressed his gratitude to all the staff he has worked with over the past three years.

“I will be forever grateful for the persistence you have shown in serving our students during my time here along with the resilience you have displayed during this pandemic,” Flener wrote. “I know that my time in Russellville has been well worth it for me personally and professionally and I wish you the best in your pursuit of excellence for our students, families, adult team members, and our community.”

Flener will formally submit his resignation to the school board in tonight’s meeting. The board will then be tasked with finding a new superintendent. Flener said he will not be involved in that process.

“We’ve got a very experienced board,” he said. “They don’t need me to cloud that process in any way.”