Board accepts resignation of Galveston ISD superintendent after controversial remarks made on women

Jeff Ehling Image
Tuesday, May 9, 2023
Galveston ISD, superintendent part ways after remarks made about women
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"But we need a man to push this through." Dr. Jerry Gibson found himself in hot water after he compared women to worker bees during a groundbreaking ceremony for the new Ball High School.

GALVESTON, Texas (KTRK) -- Galveston ISD is searching for a new superintendent after accepting the resignation of Dr. Jerry Gibson.

The move comes after hours of debate among the school board in response to controversial remarks Gibson made about women.

Gibson offered an apology before the Galveston Independent School Board meeting, but it wasn't enough to save his job.

Early Tuesday morning, school board members voted unanimously to accept his resignation.

This comes after Gibson sparked controversy with remarks he made about the role of women in the fight to secure funding for the new Ball High School during a groundbreaking ceremony.

According to a transcript of the comments, recorded by the Galveston County Daily News, Gibson said, "The ladies are the worker bees. They are going to get it done behind the scenes and keep pushing and taking care of the details. Is that right, men? They do their best to make us look good, even though we don't give them much to work with. But we need a man to push this through."

Gibson's last day will be June 30.

"In the interim, though, commencing immediately, he will assume the position of retiring superintendent, where he will provide us special assistance on a day-to-day basis on matters on which we request assistance," GISD School Board President Anthony Brown said.

Gibson had been GISD's superintendent since 2021. Brown said he will be paid through the end of June and will get a $70,000 severance package. He will finish his tenure working from home.

GISD's Executive Director of Secondary Education, Mathew Neighbors, has been named the district's Acting CEO until an interim superintendent is selected.

Most parents only found out about the decision after waking up and taking their kids to school on Tuesday.

"Do you think he should have resigned over those words?" ABC13 Reporter Jeff Ehling asked.

"Yes I do. I really do. I am glad he did," Alicia Cook said.

Most parents ABC13 spoke with agreed that Gibson's resignation was the right course of action. Many said they feel his words were not acceptable from a person in public service.

"Nowadays, yeah, absolutely, you can't say anything anymore, but yeah, it was absolutely enough," Cook said.

"I think there was too much water under the bridge. It was probably for the best, to start fresh," Lucy Laws said.

However, not everyone agreed that Gibson needed to leave over the comments.

"I would not think that would be enough for a resignation," Michele Carston said.

GISD issued the following statement regarding the decision:

Galveston ISD Superintendent Dr. Jerry Gibson will resign from the district effective June 30 as announced at the conclusion of a special board meeting held May 8 that was called to discuss the superintendent's performance, employment status, contract and related matters.

Effective immediately, Dr. Gibson will complete his remaining days with the district working from home as a retiring superintendent. Gibson will be compensated by the district through June 30, and will also receive a severance payment totaling $70,000.

GISD's Executive Director of Secondary Education, Matthew Neighbors, has been named the district's Acting CEO until an interim superintendent is selected. Neighbors will receive a stipend to perform superintendent duties as needed while also continuing in his current role. GISD will immediately begin a search for an external interim superintendent.

"I am very appreciative of our board," GISD Board of Trustees President Tony Brown said. "I didn't expect to go into that meeting and get that done, but we went into that with our lawyer, our board rolled up their sleeves and at the end of the night we had an agreement. I'm just very thankful for each and every one of them."

Joint statement of Galveston ISD's Board of Trustees and Dr. Jerry Gibson:

"Dr. Jerry Gibson has announced his retirement as Superintendent of Schools for the Galveston Independent School District. An agreement has been reached which allows Dr. Gibson the ability to pursue other interests and permits the Board to pursue hiring another Superintendent. The Board and Dr. Gibson have entered into the Agreement believing it is in their respective best interests and in the best interests of the District.

The Board of Trustees expresses its appreciation to Dr. Gibson for his efforts while serving as Superintendent.

Dr. Gibson thanks the present and past Board of Trustees for providing him with the opportunity to serve in the Galveston Independent School District. A school district is measured by the commitment of the Board, staff and community to its children and their achievement. This District is indeed committed. Dr. Gibson would like to express his heartfelt appreciation to the staff and community for their support of the District's programs and services during his term as Superintendent.

The Board extends its best wishes to Dr. Gibson in his future endeavors."

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