Houston ISD trustees vote 6-3 to resume national search for superintendent

Houston ISD officials said 40% of parents are opting to continue virtual learning for the rest of 2020. (Community Impact staff)
Houston ISD officials said 40% of parents are opting to continue virtual learning for the rest of 2020. (Community Impact staff)

Houston ISD officials said 40% of parents are opting to continue virtual learning for the rest of 2020. (Community Impact staff)

In charged vote that drew over 100 public comments, Houston ISD trustees decided against offering interim Superintendent Grenita Lathan a permanent post and instead opted to reopen the position to a national search.

"Best practice dictates that we must do a national search," Trustee Judith Cruz said, the first of several trustees to argue in favor of the process.

The first of the two agenda items, which would have named Lathan the sole finalist for the role, failed 6-3. Trustees Wanda Adams, Patricia Allen and Kathy Blueford-Daniels supported hiring the interim superintendent, who has held the post for over two and a half years. The same three subsequently voted against resuming a national search. A Texas Education Agency official intervened to suspend the district's search process in March 2019 amid an investigation into several members of the board.

Public comments included several teachers and principals who supported Lathan, noting her leadership through several crises, including Hurricane Harvey and the threat of a Texas Education Agency takeover of the board of trustees.

Ahead of the votes, board President Sue Deigaard said the votes represented an opportunity to show the public that the new board of trustees could work collaboratively and transparently.


"We have the opportunity tonight to demonstrate that we can navigate through an incredibly difficult decision about one of the most fundamental responsibilities any board has," Deigaard said.

Adams, who cast one of her last votes as a trustee because of being elected to serve as a Justice of the Peace court judge, said the split vote instead demonstrated the board's deep divisions.

"Am I shocked? No," she said. "No, Sue, we're not a team of 10. ... We're so far—we're not even a team of eight or a team of four or a team of five. We're so far off."

Deigaard said she hoped Lathan would be a candidate in the search and asked that a fair, data-driven approach be used in the selection process.

It was not immediately clear how the search would proceed and whether the TEA's previous order to suspend the search remained in effect.

The TEA and the trustees are now in a Texas Supreme Court battle over the agency's takeover of the board. If TEA is allowed to proceed, both the board of trustees and the superintendent could be replaced.
By Matt Dulin
Matt joined Community Impact Newspaper in January 2018 and is the City Editor for Houston's Inner Loop editions.


MOST RECENT

ExxonMobil moved employees from its Springwoods Village campus to a Hughes Landing to cure a default on a Montgomery County tax abatement. (Courtesy ExxonMobil)
ExxonMobil resolves tax abatement default; Home Depot distribution center taking over superfund site; and more top Houston-area news

Read the most popular business and community news from the past week from the Houston area.

The University of St. Thomas is a private Catholic college in Houston. It also has a microcampus in downtown Conroe. (Emma Whalen/Community Impact Newspaper)
University of St. Thomas offering free tuition to first 500 students who apply

The online degrees are in the following fields: cybersecurity, network technology, electronic technology, general business, and alcohol and drug dependency counseling.

houston firefighters rally
Appeals court rules in favor Houston firefighters in collective bargaining case

The 14th Court of Appeals ruled in favor of the fire union in a case that originated when the city and the union failed to reach an agreement on a labor contract in 2017.

The Texas Department of State Health Services projects a significant shortage of nurses by 2032. (Courtesy Adobe Stock)
Q&A: Why Texas faces a growing nursing shortage and what can be done to address it

In 2018, the state health department estimated about 11% of the demand for nurses was not able to be met, and that number is expected to rise to 16.3% by 2032.

Rumi's Place will open on Post Oak Boulevard in fall 2022, specializing in Persian food with a contemporary twist. (Courtesy Zadok family)
Persian restaurant Rumi's Place announced for Post Oak mixed-use development in Uptown

The eatery will occupy the last available restaurant space at the newly opened Post Oak Place, alongside Uchiko.

I-69 Southwest Freeway at I-610 West Loop will be closed May 7 at 9 p.m. until May 10 at 5 a.m. (Courtesy Texas Department of Transportation)
TxDOT: I-69 Southwest Freeway at I-610 West Loop closed through weekend

From May 7 at 9 p.m. until May 10 at 5 a.m., the lanes will be closed.

Legacy Community Health is bringing COVID-19 vaccines to historically underserved communities across Beaumont and Houston. (Courtesy Pexels)
Legacy Community Health vaccine rollout targets underserved communities in Houston, Beaumont

The health network is partnering with other entities, including Beaumont Independent School District.

HTV
Houston, Harris County annual addresses no longer hosted by Greater Houston Partnership over Texas voter bill dispute

Local leaders criticized the area chamber of commerce for not taking a definitive stance on two voting access bills currently being deliberated in the Texas Legislature.

The new location is Chipotle's first in Magnolia. (Courtesy Chipotle Mexican Grill)
Chipotle opens in Magnolia; get a sneak peek of new Houston aquarium and more metro news

Read the latest business and community news from the Houston area.

The Original ChopShop is targeting an early September opening in River Oaks, one of the first two locations of the chain coming to Houston. (Courtesy Facebook)
ROUNDUP: 5 summer openings planned in Heights, River Oaks and Montrose areas

A crafthouse, a massage therapy spa and a corner store that doubles as a Mediterranean cafe are among the new businesses that hope to open this summer.

The business specializes in customized in-home consultations during which families will receive a fire safety plan specific to their house's floor plan and an age-appropriate, individualized plan for each family member. (Courtesy Fire Smart, LLC)
Fire Smart, LLC celebrates one year of providing fire safety education across Greater Houston area

The business specializes in customized in-home consultations during which families will receive a fire safety plan specific to their house's floor plan and an age-appropriate, individualized plan for each family member.