Despite having her contract extended through December 2026 and receiving a 2% raise in July, Fort Bend ISD Superintendent Christie Whitbeck will step down from the position Dec. 11.
On Dec. 4, the board voted 5-2 in favor of accepting her letter of intent to retire from the position.
She will assume a transitional role as superintendent emeritus until June 30, district officials said in an emailed statement.
How it happened
Whitbeck announced her intention to retire in a Dec. 1 statement after serving as FBISD’s superintendent since October 2021, according to the district's website.
During a contentious meeting of the board of trustees on Dec. 4, Whitbeck said she was notified by an unnamed board member within hours of the passage of the voter-approval tax rate election in November that she was being asked to retire from the position.
She said she was completely surprised with the board’s decision to make a change at the superintendent level, as the district has thrived during the past few years under her leadership.
“What I can say is that last summer, I received a good evaluation. ... My contract was extended until December of 2026, and I received a 2% raise that the rest of the staff received the year before, and since that time, as you know, we've been really busy with ... opening three new schools, and the list goes on and on," Whitbeck said in the recorded board meeting. "So when I was talked to about this [stepping down] it was 19 hours after our election passed, and I was blindsided. I was completely and totally blindsided.”
Whitbeck added she would have further comments at a later time and said she had done nothing to warrant her being asked to step down.
FBISD Director of Strategic Communications Sherry Williams said district administration had no other comments on the actions taken by the board regarding Whitbeck.
During the Dec. 4 meeting, trustee Kristen Malone—one of the two board members who voted against accepting the superintendent's letter of intent to retire—said Whitbeck’s severance amount will be $491,000 and expressed surprise that the decision had been made.
That amount includes the 2% raise equaling $7,000 she was given when her contract was extended in July, according to Whitbeck’s contract provided by Williams in a Dec. 7 email.
Williams said she could not confirm severance agreement details or any other information regarding the severance.
Acting FBISD Superintendent Beth Martinez’s stipend for her time serving the district in the acting superintendent role will be a prorated portion of the $100,000 approved by the board. Her time in that role will end Jan. 21 and will be in the amount of $13,737, district officials said.
Martinez previously served as the district's chief academic officer and has worked in the district in multiple capacities for the last 30 years, according to the FBISD website.