In split vote, Fort Bend ISD delays superintendent search

FORT BEND COUNTY, Texas -- The Fort Bend ISD board of trustees was divided 4-3 in a decision to revise the timeline for the ongoing superintendent search.

Trustees Judy Dae, Kristen Davison Malone, Jim Rice and Dave Rosenthal voted in favor of delaying the search, while trustees Angie Hanan, Shirley Rose-Gilliam and Denetta Williams voted against the motion.

According to a calendar presented by search firm Hazard, Young, Attea & Associates and approved by the board, trustees were scheduled to be presented with the slate of applicants on June 7, conduct initial interviews June 11-12 and final interviews June 14-16.

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Rice said he asked for the board to reconsider the timeline due to coinciding Texas Association of School Boards events this month, and to give newly-elected trustees Dae and Davison Malone the opportunity to participate in team building activities.

"I do believe it will be very beneficial if we can come up as a board, as a whole team together on the same page to present what our goal as a district is to the candidate," Dae said. "I do think it will be beneficial if we have a little bit more time."

Opposing trustees expressed concerns about losing candidates who have already applied to the position and delaying the search into next school year.

"It doesn't necessarily show that we are a board that means business. It seems that we are indecisive, and I believe that we need to move forward," Rose-Gilliam said. "It's right after the pandemic, we have a lot of things going on and we need a superintendent."

While Rice's motion included meeting with HYA next week to discuss a new calendar for the search, Hanan said she did not feel comfortable postponing it without a new timeline in mind. The FBISD board of trustees is scheduled to meet June 14.

"I don't know what the postponement means. Is that a month, a week? I just don't know," Hanan said. "So it's really hard for me to say, 'Let's postpone it,' because I don't know how long that takes us into the future."

FBISD is in the process of selecting a new superintendent after Charles Dupre announced his planned resignation in November. Dupre's last day in the district will be June 10. Deputy Superintendent Diana Sayavedra will serve as acting superintendent effective June 11.

"We may have differing points of view, but I think we all have the same goal, which is hiring the best candidate that we can to lead the school district," Rice said.

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