Wow! This is major! Without a doubt, being a school leader in the current anti-equity and inclusion political climate in the throes of a seemingly never-ending pandemic has gotta' make this job one of the toughest jobs out there.
Every case is also unique, to be sure. Sounds like this could be a good dissertation.
I'm nevertheless saddened to see these leaders who—when added up altogether—literally have hundreds of years of experience in education. This creates a gaping loss for the thousands of students in their care and to the state of Texas, as a whole. I kid you not. These are very big shoes to fill.
Lot's of teachers are leaving the profession, as well.
I don't know about you, but when I read news like this, it all feels like a slow-moving train wreck. Children of what I term, the "COVID Generation," will definitely be impacted. What a crisis. Yet, as we know, with every crisis there's an opportunity out of which we can envision something grand and hopeful.
I think we should all thank these superintendents for their service and wish them the best. If you or your children are in an impacted school district, I encourage you to get involved and to do so in a good spirit, and with a good and positive intention. Our schools and districts are under way too much stress right now.
As parents and teachers across the country continue to try and find the balance of dealing with the current COVID-19 pandemic and sending students into the classroom, many are having to deal with a shift in their district's leadership team.
North Texas is in the middle of its own transition period. Since November 2021, eight superintendents from eight local school districts have announced they are leaving, resigning or retiring from their leadership positions. Three happened on the same day -- Jan. 13, 2022.
These eight superintendents include:
- Dallas ISD superintendent Michael Hinojosa (announced Jan. 13, 2022)
- Fort Worth ISD superintendent Kent Scribner (announced Jan. 13, 2022)
- Richardson ISD superintendent Jeannie Stone (announced Dec. 13, 2021)
- Lewisville ISD Superintendent Kevin Rogers (announced Nov. 2, 2021)
- Northwest ISD Superintendent Dr. Ryder Warren (announced Jan. 13, 2022)
- DeSoto ISD Superintendent D'Andre Weaver (announced Nov. 15, 2021)
- Mesquite ISD Superintendent David Vroonland (announced Dec. 13, 2021)
- Hurst-Euless-Bedford ISD Superintendent Steve Chapman (announced Dec. 14, 2021)
Dallas Independent School District Superintendent Dr. Michael Hinojosa is stepping down from the position after more than six years, according to a district press release sent out Jan. 13, 2022.
Hinojosa, who will leave in December 2022, spent 42 years in public education and 13 years with Dallas ISD overall. He had positions as a teacher, coach, assistant principal, central office staff member, and superintendent for five different districts in both Texas and Georgia.
Hinojosa said he has had talks with the board and that they knew he couldn't be superintendent for another 10 years.
"I think it was just a good time for us to do this," Hinojosa said. "I did warn the board that being a lame duck is no fun. But I also told them, 'I may be a lame duck, but I'm not a dead duck,' so people better listen to me because we have to get a lot of things done for kids."
The Dallas ISD Board of Trustees will begin a national superintendent search and outline details of the official process in the coming weeks.
“Dallas ISD and the Dallas Mavericks have made it a point to leverage our collective influence to improve our city in numerous ways, including during some of our most challenging times," Dallas Mavericks CEO Cynt Marshall said in a press release. "I’ve been blessed to have Dr. Hinojosa as my partner in this effort, and I wish him well in his future endeavors.”
During his tenure as superintendent for Dallas ISD, the district highlighted some of Hinojosa's accomplishments which included creating a universal curriculum, expanding dual-language programs and creating four career institutes
Hinojosa said there is still a lot of work to do with the district's procurement department, which is the office responsible for buying materials, supplies and services for teachers and students and staff.
"That's something that I've just struggled to fix," Hinojosa said.
The success and support of Black students in the district is also something Hinojosa said also needs to be improved and the next superintendent should work on.
"We've made progress," Hinojosa said. "We're moving better than the state, but we're still behind."
Hinojosa served an initial term as superintendent in Dallas ISD from 2005-2011 before he returned as interim superintendent in 2015. The Board of Trustees formally approved his second term in October 2015.
“Dr. Hinojosa came to do a job, and he accomplished it," Sen. Royce West also said in a press release. "He steered Dallas ISD through calm, choppy and yes, even treacherous waters and never lost site of the value of a good education. He will be remembered for his exhaustive work to ensure every Dallas ISD student receives the quality education they deserve. His efforts will live on in perpetuity as students and their families reap the benefits of his leadership for years to come.”
Fort Worth ISD
Fort Worth Independent School District Superintendent Dr. Kent Scribner announced on Jan. 13, 2022, he is stepping down from his position when his current contract is up.
Scribner tweeted Thursday that he informed the the district's Board of Trustees last month of his plans and a district press release said he officially informed them on Dec. 16, 2021. His contract officially expires on Aug. 31, 2024.
Scribner has led the district since Oct. 15, 2015.
Fort Worth ISD serves about 76,000 students and stands as one of the largest in the state.
Scribner effectively communicated with the board and was transparent through this process, according to Fort Worth ISD Board of Education President Tobi Jackson.
See WFAA Link for news video.
“Among his many accomplishments, we especially applaud his leadership in transforming our secondary schools with collaborative spaces and modern, career-focused classrooms that will benefit students for decades to come," Scribner said. "That is an outstanding legacy.”
The board is scheduled to discuss the superintendent’s plans to retire at a Jan. 18 Special Meeting Executive Session.
Scribner worked in education for more than 30 years and was a superintendent for 20 years. During his tenure with Fort Worth ISD, the district saw a 12-point gain in its state accountability rating, the press release said.
Before coming to Fort Worth ISD, Scribner served as superintendent in Phoenix. He began his education career as a high school Spanish teacher and guidance counselor in Philadelphia. He then became a principal and a central office administrator before serving as superintendent.
On Dec. 13, 2021, Richardson Independent School District announced in a press release the district's board had accepted the resignation of superintendent Dr. Jeannie Stone. The decision was made during a school board meeting.
During the pandemic, members of the school board and public had disagreements with Stone about COVID-19 precautions and mask-wearing rules as well as issues related to equity and inclusion programs.
See WFAA Link for news video.
In a joint statement with the board, Stone said she "thanks the present and past board of trustees for providing her with the opportunity to serve in the Richardson Independent School District and…her heartfelt appreciation to the staff and community for their support of the district’s programs and services during her term as superintendent."
Shortly after the board's decision, Stone was removed from the Richardson ISD website and replaced with information on the interim superintendent, Tabitha Branum.
Stone was Texas Superintendent of the Year three years ago.
Dr. Kevin Rogers, who was named Lewisville Independent School District Superintendent of Schools in May 2015, announced in November 2020 that he was going to retire, according to a district press release.
Rogers' last day will be Jan. 31, 2022. The Lewisville ISD Board of Trustees will soon begin the search for the district’s next superintendent, the press release said.
Rogers has been with Lewisville ISD his entire public education career for 36 years. He spent five years working for the Texas Department of Mental Health before joining Lewisville ISD in 1986 as a teacher and coach. He served as an assistant principal, principal and district administrator before being named superintendent.
“It has truly been my honor to serve LISD for my entire career in public education, but especially the last seven years as superintendent,” Rogers said in a press release. “Education is first and foremost about serving our students and staff, and I believe LISD has the best students and staff in the country. LISD has always been an incredible district, and I am grateful I was given the privilege to try and make it an even better place than it was when I started. And I think we did that, thanks to the tremendous support of our students, staff, parents and the communities we serve.”
Board of Trustees President Tracy Scott Miller said she was thankful for what Rogers has done for the district.
“I have known Dr. Rogers for a very long time, and there is no way we could ever thank him enough for the impact he has had on our district,” Miller said. “He is a man of integrity, and every decision he made was always about what was best for our students and staff.”
The Northwest Independent School District Board of Trustees announced Jan. 13, 2022, that Superintendent Dr. Ryder Warren will retire in July 2022. The board has begun the search process for his replacement.
Northwest ISD trustees said they will determine candidates for the position with help from Mansfield law firm Leasor Crass, which will search for candidates that meet trustees' desired traits and recommend those candidates to the school board.
Once candidates are selected, trustees will interview each candidate before selecting a finalist, the district said. After someone is selected, a state-mandated 21-day waiting period will begin before trustees can officially offer him or her the job.
The district said Northwest ISD families can expect additional communication about the search process in the coming weeks and months.
The DeSoto Independent School District Superintendent D'Andre Weaver submitted his resignation on November 2021, and the school Board of Trustees voted unanimously to accept it during a November board meeting.
Desoto ISD provided more details in December on what the superintendent search process would look like for the district's board.
The district later announced the board voted to approve Dr. Larry Lewis as interim superintendent during a special called meeting on Dec. 15, 2021.
See WFAA Link for news video.
It was unclear why Weaver resigned. In September 2020, Weaver resigned from the district but said he didn't want to resign and that the board "railroaded" him to do so. Then a few days later, the DeSoto ISD Board of Trustees voted unanimously to rescind his resignation in an emergency meeting.
"As a board, we are intent on getting back to work so that we can shift the focus from adult issues back to what really matters, and that is our students," Board President DeAndrea Fleming said.
A TEA audit of the district's finances released in October of 2021 showed the district mismanaged finances. The audit accuses district leaders of fraud, waste, and abuse in instances that occurred before Weaver was hired in 2018 under Superintendent David Harris.
The mismanagement led to a $21.6 million budget shortfall for the district.
Mesquite ISD Superintendent Dr. David Vroonland announced he would retire from his position on June 30, 2022, according to a district press release from Dec. 13, 2021.
“It has been an honor and a blessing to lead this district for the last seven years,” Vroonland said in a press release. “I want to thank our community and the Board for their trust and support. We have been through a lot together, and I am so proud of all we have accomplished for the children of Mesquite.”
Vroonland became superintendent of Mesquite ISD on July 1, 2015. He has been in education for more than 30 years, starting his career in 1986 as a teacher and coach in Carrollton-Farmers Branch ISD.
In 1991, he accepted a similar position at DuVal High School in Lanham, Md., followed by two and a half years as a coach and teacher in Akishima, Japan. In 1995, Vroonland returned to Texas to teach and coach at McNeil Junior High School in Wichita Falls ISD.
From 1999-2006, Vroonland held different administrative positions for many Texas school districts.
Vroonland said by announcing his decision now he hopes to give the board a sufficient amount of time to prepare for and find the next superintendent.
"Led by Board President Eddie Rose, I have every confidence that the board’s commitment to continued excellence will be shown as the members determine the path forward," Vroonland said. "I appreciate your dedication to our district and community. It has been a privilege to serve as your superintendent."
Hurst-Euless-Bedford Independent School District Superintendent Steve Chapman sent out a press release on Dec. 14, 2021, that said he would be retiring at the end of the school year.
Chapman has been in education since 1984, starting his career in San Angelo ISD before moving to HEB ISD in 1986. His first jobs with the district were teaching at Hurst Junior High School and then two years at Trinity High School.
In 2013, Chapman became HEB ISD Superintendent.
Chapman said while the district has challenges to deal with moving forward, they will bring about new opportunities along with them. He also said while he is moving away from his full-time position, he will still be a "champion and cheerleader" for HEB ISD students.
"It has been an honor and a privilege to serve the students and parents of this wonderful school district for the past thirty-two years," Chapman said in the press release. "During my three decades in the district, I have had the opportunity to work with students and families in a variety of capacities from classroom teacher to superintendent of schools. Each step in my HEB ISD journey allowed me the opportunity see the talent, creativity, and curiosity that children bring to the educational process. When students are given the necessary tools and support, the possibilities for how high they can soar are limitless. A quality education is truly the key to each student’s future!"
See WFAA Link for news video.
Editors Note: This article has been updated since its initial publication to include Hurst-Euless-Bedford Independent School District Superintendent Steve Chapman's retirement announcement.