The board voted 6-0 to appoint Whitbeck, who most recently worked as the superintendent of Bryan ISD. Trustee Denetta Williams was not in attendance at the Sept. 16 meeting.
Prior to taking the superintendent role at BISD in April 2017, Whitbeck was the deputy superintendent for FBISD for more than three years. A self-described "career-long educator," Whitbeck started as a first grade teacher and has experience as a principal.
"I am a true educator, I came up the ranks," Whitbeck said in an interview with Community Impact Newspaper. "This is my life's work. It's my passion. And I will give it everything I have."
Following her appointment, Whitbeck told the board academic instruction will always be her primary focus.
"Our children have lost ground nationwide and locally, and we have a lot of unfinished learning to do," Whitbeck said. "And so everything that we do, whether we're talking about a construction item, a purchasing item, a curriculum item, it has to be focused back to the purpose of our work, to the instruction for the children."
Additionally, she said she will prioritize listening to the opinions of the board and the community, and maintain an optimistic outlook.
"We have to believe that the future is better than today. And the children need to know that things are going to be okay, and not only are they going to be okay, they're going to be better," Whitbeck said.
Following her appointment, Whitbeck signed her superintendent contract. According to that document, Whitbeck's salary will be $370,000 annually.
The Sept. 16 vote comes after Whitbeck was named as the district’s lone superintendent finalist on Aug. 26. State law requires a 21-day waiting period between naming a lone finalist and them signing a contract.
"I'm glad you're here and we look forward to your leadership," Board President Dave Rosenthal said.
Whitbeck is stepping into the role after 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. The board conducted interviews for the position Aug. 9-11 and Aug. 17-20.