The board of trustees announced Whitbeck as their lone superintendent finalist during a special-called meeting Aug. 26. The district did not specify when she would officially start in the role. Six trustees voted to approve Whitbeck as the district's lone superintendent finalist, with only trustee Denettta Williams abstaining from the vote.
"We had an exhaustive search," FBISD board trustee Jim Rice said. "Bryan [ISD] and all of the individuals spoke very highly of her work ethic, her integrity and her ability to bring the community together. ... I know Dr. Whitbeck from her previous time here, and I know that she's going to do an outstanding job for us. So, welcome home."
Whitbeck served as deputy superintendent for FBISD for more than three years before taking a superintendent role at Bryan ISD in April 2017.
Board President Dave Rosenthal cited comments from Bryan ISD calling Whitbeck an "ally," a "promise-keeper" and an "advocate."
The board conducted superintendent interviews Aug. 9-11 and Aug. 17-20.
"I am fully committed to a smooth transition; to working with the team; to working with the board to make everything as as great as it can be in this very difficult time," Whitbeck said. "I started as a first grade teacher. I've been a principal at all three levels. I've been many different jobs. [I've been] deputy [superintendent] here. I've been superintendent, but never in my career—as a child or as an educator—has it been as challenging as it is right now."
FBISD's former Superintendent Charles Dupre announced his planned resignation in November 2020. His last day with the district was June 10. Since then, Deputy Superintendent Diana Sayavedra has been serving as acting superintendent.
"I'm looking forward to the opportunity to serve you, to listen, to roll up our sleeves and solve problems—but all the while keeping the main thing [the] children," Whitbeck said.