Crockett Elementary parents feel 'blindsided' after learning HISD principal was forced to resign

Rosie Nguyen Image
Tuesday, May 14, 2024
Crockett Elementary parents shocked HISD principals forced to resign
Parents from at least two HISD schools protested outside their campus Monday morning after their principals were forced to resign.

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- Parents from at least two Houston ISD schools protested outside their campus on Monday morning after their principals were forced to resign. The district said the decisions were made due to performance, but two in the latest group that received the boot were awarded HISD's Elementary and Middle School's Principals of the Year in 2023.

Liz Silva was one of the parents holding signs and chanting outside Crockett Elementary after receiving an email from the district last Friday that their principal, Alexis Clark (Vale), would not be returning next school year. The message didn't specify a reason why.

Silva said the announcement blindsided her after attending a Feb. 6 community meeting, where a district official was recorded on video saying that she "didn't see any reason to replace an amazing principal."

"We don't think she deserves that. She's a great principal. She's so dedicated to our children. She knows all of them by first name. She's dedicated to our magnet programming, and she's a performing artist herself. We can't imagine anybody else who would have passion for the school in the way that she does. We're mad at the district. We're mad at TEA," Silva said.

RELATED: More HISD job cuts stun employees who serve low-income students: 'No one is really safe'

Amanda Wingard, principal of Neff Elementary, confirmed she was also forced to resign last week but declined to comment further with ABC13.

"The irony is not lost on me as I was at the banquet to be honored for being Principal of the Year almost exactly a year ago," she wrote in a public post on her Facebook page.

ABC13 also learned that Auden Sarabia, principal at Meyerland Performing and Visual Arts Middle School and winner of HISD's Middle School Principal of the Year in 2023, will also be losing his job.

The news also prompted a protest outside their campus on Monday.

"We feel like Mike Miles is just destroying our schools. As an educator and a former educator with HISD, I've seen the good and the bad," parent Jada Stroud said. "What he's doing in Meyerland, what we are fighting for today, is just unconscionable."

RELATED: Parents protest layoffs at teachers, principals, and custodians at Houston ISD schools

HISD Superintendent Mike Miles said in a press conference on May 9 that the decision on which principals would have their contracts renewed will be based on performance, not the district's $450 million budget deficit. Crockett and Neff Elementary both currently have a D in school ratings.

In a statement to ABC13, an HISD spokesperson wrote in part, "In most cases, if a school has an A or B rating, that is a strong indication that the principal is creating the kind of learning environment students need. When a school is rated C or lower, it often means the school is not serving students well on a consistent basis."

RELATED: HISD leaders insist dozens of teacher layoffs are unrelated to $450 million budget gap

The district did not answer additional questions about how many principals have been asked to resign and how many they plan on letting go.

The unpredictability leaves parents at Crockett Elementary feeling worried about what this could mean for their children's future.

"My kids are really upset about this. They love Dr. Vale. I don't know if they are going to trust that their teachers and other staff at their schools will not disappear. I already have put in an email to his therapist to see how we're going to be able to deal with the rest of the week and the rest of the school year because we're that concerned," Kim Woods said.

For stories on Houston's diverse communities, follow Rosie Nguyen on Facebook, X and Instagram.