‘Enough is enough’: Carroll ISD superintendent wants to shift focus away from community divisions

Carroll ISD Superintendent Lane Ledbetter addressed the Southlake community and apologized for "being distracted" by community tensions, pledging a renewed focus on students and staff. (Sandra Sadek/Community Impact Newspaper)
Carroll ISD Superintendent Lane Ledbetter addressed the Southlake community and apologized for "being distracted" by community tensions, pledging a renewed focus on students and staff. (Sandra Sadek/Community Impact Newspaper)

Carroll ISD Superintendent Lane Ledbetter addressed the Southlake community and apologized for "being distracted" by community tensions, pledging a renewed focus on students and staff. (Sandra Sadek/Community Impact Newspaper)

Carroll ISD Superintendent Lane Ledbetter addressed the Southlake community Nov. 10 in a social media video, asking for the community to allow staff to do their job with the district as it continues its strategic planning meeting.

Ledbetter apologized to the community, stating he has spent the last few months focusing on the divisions within the district—to “bring unity to this community”—rather than the students and district staff. Instead, Ledbetter said bringing unity is the responsibility of the people within the Southlake community.

“That's not my responsibility. That's not my job. My job is to take care of kids. My job is to take care of our staff and to ensure that we're providing a world-class education in a safe environment for our kids and our staff,” Ledbetter said. “And I apologize that I've been distracted.”

The superintendent told the community that he and his staff are working on the district's strategic plan, a five-phase plan that will look at community needs and set district goals for the next three to five years.

He said he wants the district's leadership to be able to shift their attention to conversations about ways they can make a difference for the students who attend Carroll ISD and find new opportunities inside and outside the classroom.


"At this point, our priority moving forward is on students—on their education, on student opportunities, on our incredible staff," Ledbetter said. "I'm excited about the future of Carroll ISD because of what we can accomplish over the next three to five years as a result of this strategic plan."

But Ledbetter told the community that to best accomplish that, his staff and the community will need to turn its attention to what's ahead.

“Enough is enough. We have to move forward,” he said. “We're not going to go back and talk about what happened last semester, what happened last year, what happened two years ago. I can't do anything about that. I can't change that.”

The community update comes as CISD is still dealing with ongoing litigation related to alleged violations of the Texas Open Meetings Act, a case that is now set to be back in court for a hearing. The district also drew attention following news reports about recorded comments an administrator made related to the Holocaust, forcing Ledbetter to issue an apology.

The CISD superintendent mentioned that his assistant has recently put in around 46 hours addressing open records requests related to his text messages and emails. Ledbetter acknowledged the district needs to find a better system of response to such requests and that the public has a right to make the records requests, but he said the large volume has contributed to the shift in focus away from students and staff.

“I can assure you that if we continue to operate the way we have, if we continue to have to focus and react on the things that are happening day to day because of all the things that are coming at us ... because we're blasting people on social media—I'm not going to stay,” Ledbetter said. “The team that I've surrounded us with, that I've brought to this district, as well as our many principals—we've had enough.”

According to Ledbetter, the tensions in the district have made it difficult for its teachers to feel at ease working at CSD. CISD is one of many North Texas school systems that have had to increase pay to address staffing shortages.

“We have to trust our teachers to do the job as our teachers right now ... are scared. They don't know if they are trusted,” he said. “If you're working in an environment where any decision you make, anything you do could be put out there publicly—that's a challenge.”
By Sandra Sadek
Sandra Sadek covers the cities of Grapevine, Southlake and Roanoke as well as Carroll ISD for Community Impact. She graduated from Texas State University where she majored in journalism and international relations. She has experience working for several local papers including the University Star, the Katy Times, and the Fort Stockton Pioneer. When she's not on the ground reporting, she enjoys a good book and a hot drink. Follow her on social media @ssadek19.


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