Two more HISD stories

Houston ISD’s elected board currently has no power. People ran for the trustee posts anyway.

Two incumbents, Dani Hernandez and Patricia Allen, maintained their seats Tuesday, both winning reelection easily against a sole challenger.

Meanwhile, two incoming trustees, Savant Moore and Placido Gomez, clinched their roles with no challenger after the officials currently holding the positions opted not to run again. HISD canceled the elections for the one-candidate races in September.

It remains uncertain whether the new trustees will have a chance to gain policy-making power before their four-year terms expire. By June 2025, TEA will either announce a timeline for the transition back to an elected board or extend the placement of its appointed board members, according to a state document explaining the HISD intervention.

Those who ran for the trustee roles said they hope the transition of power happens sooner rather than later and that they will be ready to serve should that happen.

“Even though there isn’t voting power for the elected trustees, somebody still needs to be in place in case TEA does decide to give power back to the elected trustees in two years,” said Hernandez, who was reelected to represent District III on Houston’s southeast side. “We are still the voice of the community and still making sure that the voice of the community is heard.”

Moore, a parent of three children attending schools that have been overhauled under new Superintendent Mike Miles’ HISD transformation, said he chose to run because he wanted to have a role in the conversation about how to steer Texas’ largest school district. The father is a preacher at a Baptist church in the Sunnyside neighborhood and began regularly attending school board meetings about a year ago. He was elected to represent District II spanning much of north Houston.

“At first … I was a parent at the meetings. Now, I’m an elected official and, one day, I’ll have the power to vote. And so, that day, policies can be changed,” Moore said. “But until that day happens, I’m going to continue to be a voice and continue to be a bridge for my community.”


Once the three goals are met and TEA initiates the transfer of power back to an elected board, trustees will regain control of the body gradually, replacing the appointed board of managers over three years, with three trustees serving in year one, six in year two and all nine in year three. TEA said there was no information it could share clarifying when that transition will begin.

Current District II Trustee, Kathy Blueford-Daniels, did the math about the likely upcoming timeline and decided to cede her seat.

“Because I’ve been so outspoken against the takeover and even attending the meetings, I felt that I probably would be one of the latter ones rolled on (to the board in a transition of power). And that probably will not be until another three, four years, which means it will be time to run again,” Blueford-Daniels said. “I felt like I could be more vocal from an activist perspective as opposed to a trustee.”

I don’t have anything to add to this other than to say I’m glad we still have good people running for and winning HISD Trustee elections. You can still listen to my interviews with several of the people named in this story:

Kathy Blueford-Daniels
Dani Hernandez
Judith Cruz
Plácido Gómez

We asked 15 HISD students about big changes on their campuses this year. Here’s what they said.

This has not been the senior year Jayla London expected — and she wants people to know it.

Jayla, student council president and cheer team captain at Houston ISD’s Yates High School, has seen huge changes to her Greater Third Ward campus under the district’s overhaul launched by Superintendent Mike Miles. Many of her favorite teachers are gone, the campus feels more stressful and her library access is limited.

“Honestly, I just want the public to know what happens inside of the schools,” Jayla said. “It’s common to see what the news is putting out there and what the people who are running the show are putting out there. But, ultimately, I feel like the voice of those actually experiencing it matters more than all of that.”

With two months of classes in the books, the Houston Landing wanted to hear from students experiencing Miles’ dramatic revamp of HISD schools in real time.

Over the past three weeks, the Landing interviewed 15 high schoolers from 14 campuses, asking for their first-hand accounts of the changes. Two students attend a campus covered under Miles’ plan to overhaul 85 schools, including 11 high schools. The other 13 teens go to schools that aren’t part of the program, though they still reported major differences this year.

Together, the students’ insights pull back the curtain on what school looks like under state-appointed leadership.

Every student said their school felt different compared to last year — in most cases, drastically so. Although specifics varied, some common themes emerged: stressed-out teachers, tired students, new operational policies and more regimented lessons.

Miles, who was appointed as HISD’s superintendent by Texas Commissioner Mike Morath in June, has said the changes are needed to boost student learning after more than a decade of mostly stagnant test scores, with wide gaps along lines of race and income.

The students, however, aren’t impressed. Asked to rate the changes using a letter grade, the students produced an average score of C, with grades ranging from A- to F. Ultimately, they offered mixed reviews about a key question: Are students learning more this school year?

Here’s what the students told us, in their own words. Their responses were lightly edited for clarity and brevity.

I encourage you to read the rest, it’s very illuminating. Do bear in mind this is a very small sample, and there may be others with differing opinions who didn’t get interviewed. However you want to look at it, I sure hope Mike Miles reads this. I don’t expect him to do anything if he does, but I still want him to read it.

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