More resignations from HISD leadership posts as TEA takeover looms

Pooja Lodhia Image
Friday, May 5, 2023
HISD resignations emerge ahead of TEA takeover in June
Houston ISD resignations continue with less than a month away from the Texas Education Agency set to take over in June.

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- We are less than one month away from the Texas Education Agency taking over HISD with a new superintendent and board of directors, and more district resignations are coming.

Of the 11 members of the superintendent's cabinet, four have resigned since the takeover was formally announced in March.

Chief Engagement Officer Max Moll's last day was April 5.

He told Eyewitness News that part of the reason he left is because Superintendent Millard House will be replaced.

According to the district, Chief Talent Officer Jeremy Grant-Skinner's last day will be June 1.

RELATED: HISD board president says questions remain about takeover process following TEA presentation

HISD board president Dani Hernandez said the information given at Thursday's meeting was void of new details and was redundant to what is posted on the district's website.

Chief of Schools Denise Watts will be leaving on June 15.

And, perhaps the most widely recognized face in the cabinet, Pedro "Pete" Lopez, who has served as chief of HISD police since May 2020, will be leaving the district.

He's accepted a job as chief of police about three hours from Houston, in Killeen, Texas, starting June 5.

Superintendent House's last day at HISD is May 31.

"Who is it going to be? We have asked Commissioner Morath," Jackie Anderson, the president of the Houston Teachers Federation, said. "He said he hasn't made a decision. We have asked who is going to be on the board of managers. He said he has not made the appointments, but here we are in May, and these people are supposed to step into office June 1. Who are they, and where are they coming from?"

According to the TEA, whoever is appointed as the new superintendent and board of managers will serve for at least two years.

Officials have no update on their search.

"At the board level, they are the ultimate leadership in the organization," said Dr. Duncan Klussmann, a former superintendent who is now with the University of Houston College of Education. "The superintendent is the day-to-day runner and manager and leader of the organization. Those individuals in those roles need to function really well for the system to function well."

An HISD spokesperson told Eyewitness News the cabinet positions will not be filled until at least June.

"They really need to be ready to hit the road running on June 1 so really that uncertainty will start to go away, and they can get a sense of how the organization is going to run," Klussmann said.

"It trickles down to the teachers, which will eventually affect the students," Anderson said. "As with any new administration, there are changes, and at this point, we don't even know who the administration is going to be."

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SEE ALSO: LULAC president says TEA's hiring process 'political and calculated' to keep Hispanic applicants low

One of the main questions HISD parents have is -- when the TEA appoints a new superintendent and board, who will they be? Here is what we have learned so far.