A total of 16 Round Rock ISD parents spoke out June 10 against the possible hiring of superintendent finalist Dr. Hafedh Azaiez without offering a town hall or meeting.

The RRISD board of trustees announced Azaiez as the finalist for their superintendent selection process May 21, but have not scheduled a town hall for parents to speak with him and learn about his plans for the district.

“I'm a parent, and I have children at Harrington [Elementary], Hopewell [Middle] and Stony Point [High schools],” Tiffany Buss said at the meeting. “As you're meeting to discuss the salary for the lone finalist for superintendent, a few questions remain. Why have you done this entire superintendent search process in closed session? Why has it been so rushed? Why have you not made Dr. Azaiez available to the taxpayers that will pay his salary? What are you hiding? Our concerns for the superintendent candidate have not been addressed, and we continue to feel marginalized through this process.”

Buss said Austin ISD had held three public forums that allowed their prospective superintendent to engage with parents and answer questions. Buss and multiple other parents spoke to a point of questioning why the district had not given parents an opportunity to learn more about Azaiez and voice any concerns about his performance as superintendent in Donna ISD. One parent asked that hiring be postponed until he is made available to the community.

Place 7 trustee Danielle Weston moved that discussion item D1, which would have the board consult with their legal counsel about the contract for Dr. Azaiez, be tabled for that meeting. Her motion was seconded by Place 2 trustee Mary Bone.

“I do have some explanation about why I've got some regrets about our superintendent search,” Weston said. “I'm going to be very honest with you. I've expressed that to you all privately. I'm now expressing that publicly, that I could have done a better job at advocating for more transparency and for a slower process. And I'm going to own that. This is not the first mistake that I've made in my life, and it won't be the last.”

Bone also shared a statement regarding the contract, saying the single day board members had been given to review the 11-page contract was not sufficient. By dividing time between the budget and the hiring of a superintendent, Bone said she felt not enough attention had been paid to either.

“I do not feel that we are dedicating the appropriate time to both and therefore both will most likely suffer,” Bone said. “And when both suffer, the only people that will suffer are the children in Round Rock ISD. I ask that we pull back and take the time our children and community [and] taxpayers deserve to give them both a sound budget, which also now includes a discussion on virtual and a qualified superintendent that can be held accountable through a well-crafted contract.”

Weston’s motion was amended to limit discussion of the contract to 30 minutes in closed session. Without a second after its amendment, the motion failed.

The board will meet again at 12:30 p.m. on June 14, with a vote on employment of a superintendent on the agenda.

Editor's note: This story was updated to correct the spelling of Tiffany Buss' last name.