Dr. Cade Brumley
Dr. Cade Brumley is a lifetime educator. During his professional career, he’s served in numerous capacities including teaching, coaching, and the principalship. Since 2012, Brumley has served as Superintendent for the DeSoto Parish School System. He first came to DeSoto in 2010, stating he saw great potential for achievement in the parish. At the time, the system was ranked 45 of 74 systems in the State of Louisiana for academic achievement. Today, DeSoto is an "A" rated school district and ranks 14th among Louisiana school systems.
I was certain “Chief” would bring to DeSoto Parish the same philosophy and leadership style he honed while Principal at Converse High School where I served for two years as his assistant principal at CHS (he called me his “Wingman”), I have seen him work his magic. I was in awe of his inherent leadership capabilities that, on a daily basis, neutralized the most challenging of tasks and, remarkably, he did it with the skill of a combat veteran. I was equally amazed by his humility, and his desire and willingness to serve others.
We saw a 12-point spurt in the school’s SPS. Along the way, morale skyrocketed in both school and community. It was an incredible ride.
Cade Brumley’s penchant for reading people and analyzing their potential is matched by his ability to relate to everybody he meets. It is a trait that serves him well in DeSoto as he focuses on improving the quality educational experiences for children.
Dr. Brumley believes in his principals, and strives to develop and cultivate a one-on-one relationship with each of them – helping them develop school visions and plans for attainment. He further believes the rubber meets the road for student outcomes based on the effectiveness of classroom teachers. Continuous improvement is required if you’re working on his team.
In 2012, Dr. Brumley was elevated to the office of Superintendent in DeSoto where he would assume a much greater role in the district’s turnaround. At that moment the district was facing a $12.6 million budget deficit in the general fund budget. A tremendous downturn in local economic activity was the root, and very real, problem. It was crunch time.
Brumley faced a monumental challenge, an onslaught of criticism, and a clear and present danger to district sustainability. Through it all, he maintained his responsibility and never flinched. Only Brumley knows what he went through, but within a year, the district was back “in the black” and facing a stable financial future. He credits this turnaround to the collective intelligence of a leadership team willing to not kick the can down the road; rather, reduce expenditures to meet available revenues.
Incredibly, the dark days of financial recovery never once caused Dr. Brumley to waiver from his mission – the road to student opportunity. Brumley has been faced with a continual decline of revenue coming into the DeSoto Parish School System and has adjusted system spending to align with revenue annually. Just recently, he led his Board through a process to further reduce system expenditures by over $6 million. The system is operating on a budget roughly 40% less than just a few years ago. Through it all, he’s held steadfast to his core principles of student safety being the primary responsibility, student outcomes being the main priority, and the system living within its means. He has refused to recommend tax increases on the public and, in fact, the district recently passed its property tax renewal with over 70% favorability – the largest positive margin in district history. Also, the system earned an AA rating from Standard and Poors - no Louisiana system ranks higher.
Student outcomes continue to bring positive attention on the DeSoto Parish School System. Brumley credits those achievements to strategic planning, a supportive School Board, an outstanding workforce, committed students, and a loyal community. Here are some of the recently positive outcomes for the system:
- DeSoto labeled an "A” District by the Louisiana Department of Education.
- DeSoto has vaulted to 14th in academic performance out of 72 districts.
- DeSoto ranks 2nd in the State of Louisiana on its rate of academic improvement.
- All schools are “academically acceptable” (no failing schools).
- DeSoto’s proficiency rates exceed state average for 1st time in history.
- Significant decrease in suspensions.
- Reduction in drop-out rates.
- Graduation Rates are 96%, up 20 points in last 3 years.
- Identification of Gifted and Talented Students has more than doubled.
- Named "District of Distinction" from the National Institute for Excellence in Teaching.
- National Advanced Placement (AP) Honor Roll (2016 & 2017).
- Largest ACT growth in State of Louisiana.
- Top 10 District for improving Special Education academic outcomes.
Cade Brumley was just six years old when he announced to his first-grade class that his goal was to become a Principal. Every road traveled has prepared him for his educational career. A born leader, Brumley’s bio spells SUCCESS in his every endeavor. Always fiercely competitive, Cade is active in everything life has to offer. He is intelligent and tenacious, possessing the heart and soul of a champion and an unquenchable thirst for perfection.
Throughout high school, Cade was involved in every phase of school life. His list of plaudits is immense -- President of the Senior Class, “Honesty and Integrity Award”, All-District in basketball (24 points per game his senior year), All-District in baseball (batted .579 his senior year), “Mr. CHS”, 3.8 GPA.
While earning his B.S. degree in education at Northwestern State University, Cade worked a full-time job as Sports Editor of The Natchitoches Times. In state-wide competition by the Louisiana Press Association, he won numerous awards for the Times, the most distinguished of which were “Best Sports Story of the Year” and “Best Sports Section”.
He left Natchitoches for a teaching job in Shreveport where he enrolled in the Masters’ degree program at Louisiana State University-Shreveport and taught in the Caddo Parish system at J.S. Clark Middle School. Then, he retraced his roots to Sabine Parish and his alma mater, Converse HS, where he taught social studies and English, and coached varsity girls’ basketball. As a teacher, Brumley was twice named CHS “Teacher of the Year”, and was selected Sabine Parish TOY. Under “Coach Brumley’s” leadership on the basketball court, the Lady Cats broke the shackles of a 54-game losing skid, and in his second year, they made the state playoffs for the first time in 14 years. Along the way he earned his Master’s in Education Administration from LSUS with a 4.0 GPA.
Cade then set his sights on a doctoral degree. He spent the next three years on a roller coaster, working on his doctorate at Stephen F. Austin University. It meant juggling his full-time teaching job and his family life with weekends and part of his summers at Nacogdoches, Texas – a 166-mile drive round trip. During his three-year ordeal, Cade earned an administrative post, serving as assistant principal at Zwolle HS and Zwolle Elementary simultaneously.
Finally, Brumley successfully completed his doctoral coursework and defended his dissertation – that challenging phase of life had ended. The long drives, the sleepless nights, the time away from family and his church were a thing of the past.
In a letter of support for Dr. Brumley, SFA professor Patrick M. Jenlink alluded to Cade’s “work ethic and sense of professional responsibility;” his “sense of moral responsibility and professional commitment to leadership for improving education;” his “fire of enthusiasm and determination;” his concern for social justice, equity, caring, community…;” his “grasp of the complex and dynamic nature of the leader’s role in the school and community;” and Cade’s “…passion for learning that drives his concern for what is best for all students.”
I should also note that Brumley is a graduate of the Harvard Superintendents Academy – attesting to his perpetual thirst for knowledge and motivation to further sharpen his skills as a leader.
In addition, Brumley is the author of “Leadership Standards in Action: The School Principal as Servant-Leader.” His published book blurs the boundaries between theory and practice for school leaders. This work was a culmination of best practice, his own research, and his time spent in the position. Additionally, Dr. Brumley is a recognized and dynamic public speaker in several circles with his work focusing primarily on leadership. Recently, Dr. Brumley spent two weeks in the African bush teaching and building capacity with identified leaders from indigenous tribes.
His professional work has earned him various honors including Louisiana State University’s “Distinguished Circle” award, The Community Foundation’s “Move the Needle” award, The City of Mansfield’s “Corporate Citizenship Award”, the National Institute of Excellence in Teaching’s “District of Distinction” Award, the National Advanced Placement “Honor Roll” award, a “National Blue Ribbon School of Excellence” Award, and he was named Northwestern State University’s first Outstanding Young Educator. For his community service, he’s been named a “St. Jude’s Hero” and is a recipient of the United State Army’s “Commander’s Award for Public Service.”
Dr. Brumley is Vice-President of the Northwestern State University Alumni Association and is the Found President and charter member of the Northwest Louisiana NSU Alumni Chapter. He is a member of the Northwestern State University Founder’s Circle and the Demons Unlimited Foundation. He volunteers his service to numerous Boards seeking to improve the quality of life in Northwest Louisiana.
In his spare time, he enjoys spending time with his family. He is an outdoorsman and enjoys time spent in nature. Cade is a marathoner.
Cade Brumley’s story is that of a versatile man whose successes have set the bar for those who followed. It is the story of a man whose inherit leadership traits sprouted early; whose faith is deeply rooted in Godly principles; a man whose zest for life is matched only by his call to action; a man who embodies the qualities of a servant-leader; and a man devoted to his wife and sons. To borrow the title of Aubrey Andelin’s book, Cade Brumley is truly a “Man of Velvet and Steel.”
Dr. Brumley’s story is that of a man with a vision and the ability to “sell it” – a man with a proven track record, totally equipped to continue leading DeSoto Parish schools. His goal: “to care for our students, ensure their learning, and celebrate their graduation as citizens prepared to transform their dreams into realities.”
Written by Curt Nix, Sabine Parish Administrator and
Brumley’s “Wingman” (AP) at Converse HS