Humble ISD trustees voted to place Superintendent Elizabeth Fagen on paid administrative leave during the board’s May 14 meeting.

The overview

Trustees voted 4-2 in favor of placing Fagen on paid administrative leave after spending nearly two hours in executive session May 14. However, they provided no details concerning the reason for considering Fagen’s temporary removal prior to the vote.

Board President Robert Scarfo and trustees Michael Grabowski, Chris Parker and Ken Kirchhofer voted in favor of the measure, with trustees Martina Lemond-Dixon and Robert Sitton casting dissenting votes. Trustee Marques Holmes abstained from the vote.

Following the vote, trustees voted 6-1 in favor of appointing Deputy Superintendent Roger Brown to temporarily serve as superintendent during Fagen’s leave.

How we got here

The decision to place Fagen on administrative leave is coming just one month after trustees voted to release a report detailing the findings of a Title IX investigation launched against former Humble ISD Athletic Director Troy Kite.

Kite married Fagen in 2023 after disclosing their relationship to the board in March 2022, district officials said. Fagen said she recused herself from the investigation in May 2023.

During the board’s April 9 meeting, an agenda item calling for “possible action regarding employment and duties of superintendent" was included on the meeting’s agenda. However, no vote was held and no action was taken regarding Fagen’s employment with the district during at that time.

Another detail

On April 17, HISD officials confirmed Fagen had been named one of five finalists for the open superintendent seat in the Washoe County School District. According to WCSD's website, the search process was anticipated to take several months with the goal of selecting a new superintendent in May.

In a May 14 news release, WSCD officials announced the selection of Joe Ernst as the district's new superintendent, meaning Fagen did not get the job.

What's next

Following the meeting, district officials said no additional information was available concerning the reason for Fagen's temporary removal or how long it could last. Fagen exited the board room following the vote and was not available for comment after the meeting.

Also of note

During the May 14 meeting, Sitton said trustees received the proposed agenda later than usual for the second month in a row. He also said he didn’t receive responses to several emails he sent to Scarfo concerning items included on the agenda.

“In our opening remarks, we say we get these agendas plenty of time ahead [so we can] ask questions [in advance of the meeting],” Sitton said. “I sent an email to [Scarfo] on Friday with no response [and] another email Saturday night with no response. If we're not getting answers and we're getting the agenda late, that's kind of a false statement.”

Lemond-Dixon raised similar concerns during the board’s April 9 meeting. She said she received notice of that meeting’s agenda five minutes before it was posted, which she said didn’t give her or her colleagues sufficient time to raise issue with the item concerning Fagen's employment status.

During the April 9 meeting, Scarfo said the delay in forwarding the agenda to trustees was due to an information request from the district’s legal team. However, he did not provide any details as to why the May 14 agenda was sent late or why he failed to respond to Sitton’s emails.