The Humble ISD board of trustees named Elizabeth Celania-Fagen the lone finalist for superintendent at its May 24 meeting.
Fagen’s appointment as superintendent will be voted on at a June 14 board meeting after a 21-day period for public input. If approved, she will replace retiring Superintendent Guy Sconzo, who will serve as a consultant until December.
“When we went to Colorado [to meet with Fagen and her references], we met with a lot of different people,” board of trustees President Robert Sitton said. “And everyone said it’s all about the kids [for Fagen]. That’s the way she leads. She leads from the kids up, not the top down.”
If her employment is approved by the board, Fagen will complete a 100-day plan with the district, Sitton said. She will evaluate the district’s personnel, learn about the culture and structure of HISD and set out goals to accomplish during her first 100-day stretch, he said.
Fagen comes to Humble with 20 years of experience in education, including eight as a superintendent of large school districts. Before arriving at HISD she served as superintendent of the 67,000-student Douglas County School District in Colorado. Before that, she was the superintendent of the 56,000-student Tucson Unified School District in Arizona.
Douglas County School District, like HISD, is a fast-growing suburban district. Douglas County, which is located between Denver and Colorado Springs, has grown by 8,000 students in the last six years.
“[I] really understand the opportunity [to be] in an excellent school district—not only as an educator, but as a parent—that would be a gift for my children,” Fagen said. “Finding the exact right place for two little girls to be in school, and for their mom—who is a former teacher, high school principal and superintendent—to have the opportunity to lead an excellent school district, I’m honored, grateful, thankful and excited.”
The national search for a new HISD superintendent began in January. The applicant pool included 43 individuals from 14 states. Initial interviews were conducted with seven applicants, and three finalists were asked to participate in second round interviews.
Fagen’s passion and knowledge separated her in a long search process, Sitton said.
“They’re going to remember tonight and the new superintendent 15, 20 years from now,” Sitton said. “It was that intense and serious. She’s [only the fifth HISD superintendent] since 1942, and we don’t want to have another for 20 years. It’s our legacy.”
Additional reporting by Chris Shelton