HISD superintendent reassigns principals at Jack Yates, Worthing, and Sharpstown high schools

Rosie Nguyen Image
Thursday, July 13, 2023
Newly-appointed superintendent reassigns principals at 3 HISD schools
Houston ISD Superintendent Mike Miles reassigned principals at Jack Yates, Worthing, and Sharpstown high schools Wednesday morning.

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- Less than a week after HISD's new superintendent, Mike Miles, cut about 600 jobs from the district's central office, he announced Wednesday morning that they will be reassigning principals at three Houston-area high schools.

SEE ALSO: HISD job reductions in human resources, chief academic office to be complete by July 17, superintendent says

Jack Yates, Worthing Early College, and Sharpstown High Schools are the three schools that will begin the new school year in just a few weeks under new leadership.

Just six months ago, HISD's previous Board of Trustees considered removing Yates High Schools principal, Tiffany Guillory, for unknown reasons. Parents, alumni, and community members rallied in support of Guillory, and ultimately, the Board voted against her termination.

READ MORE HISD board votes against terminating Yates High School principal

Lakeyshia and Lamar Smith were two of those parents who advocated for Guillory. On Wednesday, they told ABC13 they were shocked to hear about her reassignment, as their 10th-grader prepares to return to school next month. They shared that Guillory was also their oldest son's 12th-grade administrator a few years ago.

"I am upset and devastated. Mrs. Guillory is like a mother figure to our kids. She made sure they stayed on the right track to graduate," Lakeyshia Smith said.

"We're talking about a person who really wants what's best for these kids. You are moving a person that this community really needs," Lamar Smith added.

In a statement, Miles wrote that he informed the principals directly and sent a letter to each school community on the same day as the announcement.

"My leadership team and I reviewed existing plans for the future of these schools and determined that new leadership was necessary to drive the kind of improvement these high schools need to start preparing their students and graduates well for the workplace and world that waits for them after high school," Miles said in the statement.

Aaron Henry, who graduated from Yates High School in 2008 and is a member of the Jack Yates National Alumni Association, said Miles' explanation doesn't make sense to him.

"If that's the case, one of the questions I have is why wasn't Yates a part of the NES-aligned schools that Superintendent Miles identified upon his arrival in Houston Independent School District?" Henry asked.

NES stands for New Education System, which is Miles' new reform program aimed at overhauling schools that are struggling in the district. Teachers at NES schools will receive special training and receive a high salary.

Initially, 28 schools were selected. But principals from nearly 60 additional schools asked to be added.

RELATED: Nearly 60 HISD principals seek to opt into program under new superintendent

Henry pointed out how Guillory volunteered to add Yates High School to the program, hoping to get more resources and support for the school. It ended up being added to the final list of NES campuses that was released Tuesday, just one day before Miles decided on the reassignments.

There are 57 total campuses on the official NES list, including 36 elementary schools, 10 middle schools, and nine high schools. There are also two kindergarten through eighth-grade campuses.

RELATED: Houston ISD names 57 schools participating in New Education System

The Smiths believe Guillory didn't get enough time to make the substantial changes she wanted at Yates High School.

"It's not that she didn't know how to do the job. It's just a mess. She needs the support from administrators up above her to get what she needs. She's fighting for them every day," Lamar Smith said.

Henry said he's frustrated by what he calls an abrupt decision, made without any discussion or input from the community.

"It makes us feel disconnected. It's almost humiliating. What I'm concerned about is the students and how they're going to feel once they realize Ms. Guillory is no longer with them when they get back here in August. I'm also worried about the staff at the school with the instability of another leader," Henry expressed.

Miles said that the new principals will be able to fill existing vacancies, but there will not be any further staff transitions on these campuses.

ABC13 did not receive a response from HISD when inquiring further about whether the district will be able to replace the three principals before the first day of school. But according to the Houston Chronicle, Miles plans to have these positions filled before the staff report for professional development in August.

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