New HISD superintendent Millard House lays out his top priorities

Thursday, July 8, 2021
New HISD superintendent Millard House lays out his top priorities
Eyewitness News sat down with the new HISD superintendent, Millard House, and nothing was off the table. Right out of the gate, ABC13's Chauncy Glover asked him about the challenges he faces as he takes over, the undertaking of turning around low-performing schools and saving the district from the Texas Education Agency. Here's what he had to say about the possible TEA takeover.

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- ABC13 anchor Chauncy Glover went one-on-one with Houston Independent School District's new superintendent Millard House.

House says he knows he's coming in at a very crucial time, but he has a plan to keep the Texas Education Agency, or TEA, from taking over.

"We've had an opportunity to engage in conversation, and I shouldn't even say conversation listening to TEA, and what we know is there have been some historical issues, and I think the district owns its part in those issues. But it's a new day. A big majority of those issues were four years ago, five years ago, so we're going to be working hard with the TEA," he said.

Historical issues, indeed.

One glaring issue is the discord among the school board. House says he's already working on bringing the current board together.

"I decided to bring my board together and do our first board retreat on day one. From the day they hired me going back to June, or announced that I was the lone finalist to July 1, there's momentum. It's going to be important that I push the envelope from a leadership standpoint that that momentum continues. That I get to know them and they trust me, I trust them, and we get the work done in a professional manner," he added.

House also talked about turning around low-performing schools.

"One thing that's going to be extremely helpful as we look at our highest-need schools is equity. We've got to focus our efforts on making sure that the kids that need these extra dollars, that need the kind of support that comes along with COVID relief dollars get it. We're going to be pushing to provide that support and identify exactly the who, the when and the where," explained House.

House has an extensive career in education from being a principal to chief operating officer.

He comes to HISD after serving as the Clarksville-Montgomery County School Systems Director of schools. HISD is five times bigger than that district.

House acknowledges people may be asking if he really knows what he's getting himself into with a much larger district.

"That's a fair assessment, but I've had experiences in large school systems as well as the chief operating officer in one of the country's largest school systems. I know what those systems and processes look like. I know what it is to execute at a large scale," he said.

House says that for the first three months on the job, he's focusing on three things: re-engaging staff, students, parents and the community, opening schools safely and a bold strategic plan to turn things around.

HISD parents, here's his message to you.

"My job is to ensure that I lead you in the direction of ensuring that your kids get exactly what they need. I commit to you that that's what I'm going to do. I'm looking forward to ensuring that my leadership team, our board with HISD, focuses its efforts on exactly what we need to focus on and that's children," he said.

House also talked about his life outside of work.

"I love spending time with my wife of 24 years. I love spending time with my 10-year-old son and my 16-year-old daughter. They are my heartbeat and when they are happy, I am happy. I really ask them what they want to do when we get a few moments of free time, but making them smile is what makes me smile," he said.

House says he's also spending a lot of time working closely with health officials and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in preparation of opening schools safely.

SEE MORE: Lone finalist for HISD superintendent Millard House II promises reform and urges no state takeover

SEE MORE: Dr. Grenita Lathan says 'she did what was asked' during time as HISD's interim superintendent

Houston Independent School District Interim Superintendent Grenita Lathan is leaving the district to pursue a new journey in Missouri, but what are her thoughts before she leaves? What has she learned during her time at HISD? What played a role in her decision to leave her post? Hit play to watch her one-on-one interview with ABC13 in the video above.

Follow Chauncy Glover on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.