New Caney ISD names new superintendent after theft scandal

MONTGOMERY COUNTY, Texas -- At an April 6 special meeting, the New Caney ISD board of trustees named Matt Calvert its superintendent.

Calvert has served the district as interim superintendent since November. Previously he served as deputy superintendent and executive director of finance.

"Mr. Calvert has demonstrated a tremendous commitment to the New Caney ISD community, especially our students, over the last six years," board President Chad Turner said in an April 6 press release. "His knowledge and experience have been important in helping our district grow, but it's his responsible stewardship of our district through some difficult times that really stands out. It's important that our community has trust in the school district. Mr. Calvert has earned our trust, and we can look forward to a bright future under his leadership."

The press release said Calvert has helped the district with its strategic planning and improvement process, including the construction of Dogwood Elementary School, Infinity Early College High School, the district natatorium, the new Keefer Crossing Middle School and the district's third comprehensive high school.

"I am honored and grateful to have the opportunity to serve New Caney ISD as superintendent of schools," Calvert said. "There are such wonderful people in this community, and I am in awe of the professionalism and dedication to students our staff continually demonstrate in their work. New Caney ISD is one of the most dynamic school districts in Texas. It is a privilege to work here and the opportunity of a lifetime to serve as superintendent. We will continue to put students first in all that we do and work as hard as we can to provide a great education to the children of this community."

Calvert was named the lone finalist at the board's March 15 meeting. The board was required by Texas law to wait 21 days before officially hiring him.

RELATED: Former New Caney ISD superintendent submitted expenses for trips he did not take, according to arrest warrant affidavit

New Caney ISD's former Superintendent Kenn Franklin is accused of submitting at least $2,500 worth of fake travel expenses to the district, according to arrest warrant affidavits from the Montgomery County District Attorney's Office.

Franklin was booked into the Montgomery County Jail on Jan. 7, 2021 and released on bond. He was charged with aggregate theft by a public servant, a third-degree felony, and tampering with a government record, which is a state jail felony.

According to the affidavit, the school district requested help on Sept. 21 from the Texas Rangers. NCISD Police Chief Troy Wootton said there had been some suspicion that Franklin was creating and submitting travel vouchers for work trips he did not take, per the affidavit.

The affidavit cites two times where Franklin's personal and work vehicles were observed in New Caney rather than at work-related trips for which Franklin submitted expense reports. On Oct. 6, Texas Ranger Derek Leitner stated in the affidavit that he observed Franklin at his RV home in New Caney after Franklin said he was going to a Rotary meeting then a meeting in San Antonio. On Oct. 7, the affidavit states Franklin submitted a travel expense for $259 for the San Antonio trip he did not take.

Upon further investigation, Leitner stated he found 22 of the 24 travel expenses Franklin submitted in 2020 were inconsistent. According to the affidavit, Franklin also submitted travel expenses for days he claimed to travel to Waco, San Antonio and Austin; however, license plate data from toll roads showed Franklin traveled instead to Tyler, Texas, where his wife lives, according to the affidavit.

Defense attorney Christopher Tritico is representing Franklin. Tritico told Community Impact Newspaper in a phone interview Jan. 8 that Leitner notified Tritico about the arrest warrant for Franklin. Leitner allowed Franklin to surrender to the Montgomery County Sheriff's Office on Jan. 7, Tritico said.

"Mr. Franklin is looking forward to answering these charges and taking care of them as quickly as possible and moving forward," Tritico said.

Franklin served as superintendent at New Caney ISD for roughly 11 years before he suddenly resigned in mid-November.

This content was provided by our partners at Community Impact Newspaper.

SEE ALSO: New Caney ISD names interim superintendent after leader's sudden departure