Houston ISD trustees could vote Thursday to drop 'interim' title for Grenita Lathan

Houston ISD interim Superintendent Grenita Lathan
Houston ISD interim Superintendent Grenita Lathan pauses while speaking at an event in August 2019 celebrating the turnaround success at Kashmere High School. (Matt Dulin/Community Impact Newspaper)

Houston ISD interim Superintendent Grenita Lathan pauses while speaking at an event in August 2019 celebrating the turnaround success at Kashmere High School. (Matt Dulin/Community Impact Newspaper)

After almost three years in an interim role leading the largest school district in the state, Grenita Lathan may officially be hired to take the job this week.

The Houston ISD board of trustees has an agenda item Nov. 12 to consider naming Lathan the "lone finalist" for the position.

"I would welcome the opportunity to continue the work to elevate the academic, social, and emotional outcomes for all students in our district," Lathan said in a statement Nov. 10.

"During my five-year tenure with HISD, my focus has been, and always remains, on putting children first," the statement reads. "My team and I have worked diligently on behalf of our students and their families to initiate programs to improve academic performance, led historically underperforming schools out of Improvement Required status and expanded fine arts education. During this time, the district’s financial condition has continued to be strong and the district has maintained its AAA bond rating from Moody’s and AA+ from Standard and Poor’s. In addition, we have led the district through Hurricane Harvey’s recovery efforts and continue to navigate together through the current global pandemic."

Lathan was appointed in March 2018 after then-Superintendent Richard Carranza accepted a post leading the New York City public school system. Lathan was the district's chief academic officer at the time.

In March 2019, the board of trustees planned to announce a sole finalist for the role after conducting interviews, but the process was halted by the Texas Education Agency, which was in the midst of an expanded investigation into trustee misconduct.

Prior to that, trustees attempted to replace Lathan with former Superintendent Abe Saavedra, an incident that led to complaints that some trustees violated the Open Meetings Act in the process, prompting the TEA investigation.

The district remains the subject of a potential takeover by the TEA. A Supreme Court case is pending that, if decided against the district, would mean the trustees will be replaced by an appointed board of managers. The takeover stems in part from the trustee investigation as well as from the district's inability to turn around performance at one of its high schools.
By Matt Dulin
Matt joined Community Impact Newspaper in January 2018 and is the City Editor for Houston's Inner Loop editions.


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