Fort Bend ISD board members heard criticism of their decision to oust Superintendent Christie Whitbeck during the Dec. 11 regular meeting. Over a dozen speakers, including local elected officials and district teachers, came to speak in support of Whitbeck and criticized the board.

What they’re saying

Numerous district stakeholders spoke during the public comment portion of the Dec. 11 meeting, including Sugar Land Mayor Joe Zimmerman.

“I've come before you tonight to speak and offer my support of Dr. Whitbeck,” he said. “I know her to be a person of high moral character and uncompromising ethics.”

Multiple teachers asked the board to reinstate Whitbeck and expressed dismay at the decision.

“There has been very little shared about why Dr. Whitbeck has given her resignation and even less about why the board accepted the resignation,” district teacher Becky Smith said. “So I know very little about what is actually going on. ... I'm here tonight to ask the board to reconsider your acceptance of Dr. Whitbeck's resignation.”

In their own words

In a district statement released Dec. 11 just prior to the meeting, Whitbeck thanked the FBISD community for the opportunity to guide the district over the last two and a half years.

In the statement, Whitbeck said in the week since the board voted to accept her retirement request on Dec. 4, she received an outpouring of support.

“I offer my deepest heartfelt gratitude to all who have reached out over the past week with words of kindness, support, encouragement and appreciation,” she wrote. “I want to reassure you that my retirement is not related to any health, family or personal matter. Thank you for caring and expressing concern.”

Whitbeck cited the accomplishments of her tenure, including the passages of the May bond to address district facilities’ needs and the Nov. 7 voter-approval tax rate election proposal.

“To FBISD employees—I am so grateful for each and every one of you, and I thank you for taking care of our students. It has been a pleasure getting to know you and watching you interact with our kids as you help them prepare for bright and promising futures,” she wrote.

How we got here

Despite having her contract extended through December 2026 and receiving a 2% raise in July, Whitbeck was asked to step down from the position in November following the VATRE passage.

Whitbeck then announced her intention to retire in a Dec. 1 statement, according to the district's website. Subsequently, the board voted 5-2 in favor of accepting her letter of intent to retire from the position during a Dec. 4 meeting.

What’s next

Whitbeck officially assumed the role of superintendent emeritus on Dec. 12 until June 30, district officials said in an emailed statement.

FBISD has placed a link to the superintendent job posting on the district website. The closing date for applications is Jan. 2.