After the recent announcement of the district’s internal investigation regarding transcript anomalies, the Spring ISD board of trustees voted to begin the termination process for three key administrators Feb. 22 following the resignation of eight other administrators in the last few weeks.
“We are taking swift action to remove any member of the district’s current administrative team found to have been involved with the issues and irregularities identified in our investigation,” Superintendent Rodney Watson said in a press release. “The effected students and their families deserved better. Under my administration, I’m committed to ensuring that the obligation we have to this community to prepare students for college and career is met.”
The SISD board of trustees held a special meeting Feb. 22 to consider the termination of three contracts. The board unanimously voted to begin the termination process of Adrain Johnson, director of special projects, Royal Hammond, student success specialist for Westfield High School, and Thad Gittens, associate principal for Wunsche High School.
“I think it’s important because it shows that the district has to make some changes. The district is evaluating exactly how people were involved, what their relationship is [and]how did they allow these things to happen.”
– Sheleah Reed, Spring ISD executive director of communications
Johnson was superintendent of school administration from 2012 until last December, during which time he had direct oversight of Dekaney High School, according to SISD. Gittens was assistant superintendent of school administration from 2012 until last December, where he oversaw Westfield High School and its feeder schools.
“The district has contracts with these employees, so what the district has to do is give them notice [of their termination],” said Sheleah Reed, executive director of communications for SISD. “And that is what the board has authorized the superintendent to do.”
Reed said the three administrators were involved with the investigation, but she was unable to comment on what they did which led to their termination. She said the board deals with personnel matters, and the investigation is ongoing. The board discussed the issue in closed session prior to the vote.
“That’s what [the board]had to determine today was how they were involved, and that’s what they had to evaluate,” Reed said. “I think it’s important because it shows that the district has to make some changes. The district is evaluating exactly how people were involved, what their relationship is [and]how did they allow these things to happen.”
Two other administrators—Chief Financial Officer Christine Porter and Delic Loyde, director of new teacher induction for workforce development—were listed on the meeting agenda for consideration of termination. However, Reed said Loyde resigned Feb. 19 and Porter announced her resignation the morning of Feb. 22 prior to the meeting.
Not just the district’s CFO, Porter also managed data integrity for the district, Reed said. Her resignation makes the eighth district official to resign since the investigation began.
Although the eight employees who resigned no longer have relationships with the district, Reed said Johnson, Gittens and Hammond will continue to be paid until the termination process has completed. She said the three administrators have the option to appeal the termination and will receive pay until the appeals process has been completed.
Reed said more resignations and terminations could be made throughout the investigation.
“I think so, but I don’t know that,” she said. “I don’t think we’re over. I don’t think that this is the end. I think the board and Dr. Watson will continue to evaluate, and Dr. Watson will make recommendations as he sees fit.”
The district is moving forward with the evaluation of its counseling practices, Reed said. SISD has also already posted the jobs of some employees who resigned, including one data integrity administrator who resigned last week.
“These are key positions,” she said. “People are working overtime, double time to do their work. And that’s what we have to do to get through this process.”
The district investigation was launched in January in response to a report from the Texas Education Agency documenting anomalies in testing. The investigation led to an extensive review of all the district’s high school transcripts. SISD officials said the transcript anomalies affects as many as 600 students including graduating seniors.
Watson has begun hosting community meetings for students and parents to understand the issue and how to address transcript concerns. Meetings have already been held for juniors and seniors. A meeting for sophomores will be at 6:30 p.m. Feb. 26 in the Spring High School cafeteria, while a meeting for freshmen is scheduled for 6:30 p.m. March 4 at the Westfield High School auditorium.
For more information, visit www.springisd.org.