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HISD names an interim Superintendent

It’s who we expected.

Ken Huewitt

The Houston school board’s search for a new superintendent took a step back Wednesday as trustees severed ties with the firm they selected two months ago and agreed to start fresh with another.

The district likely will be out some money, at least for expenses incurred by the Iowa-based consultants, but board President Manuel Rodriguez Jr. said he hopes the process stays on track to have a new leader on the high-profile job by July. With Superintendent Terry Grier stepping down Feb. 29, trustees chose Deputy Superintendent Ken Huewitt to serve as interim superintendent.

After hiring Ray and Associates on a split vote in December, trustees on Wednesday unanimously and without discussion chose Hazard, Young, Attea & Associates, another well-known group that had applied for the job. According to media reports, the Illinois-based firm has faced criticism in recent months after conducting superintendent searches in Nashville, Tenn., and Minneapolis that failed to result in hires.

“We have expectations of being successful. There’s no concerns right now,” Rodriguez said after the board meeting.

Hazard, Young, Attea & Associates also is conducting a superintendent search for the Humble Independent School District, which has roughly 41,000 students, about one-fifth as many as Houston ISD. Klein ISD, on the hunt as well, turned local for consultants, hiring Houston attorney David Thompson and former Texas Education Commissioner Mike Moses.


After splitting on several major votes in recent months, trustees united Wednesday on the search firm items and on unanimously naming Huewitt as interim superintendent.

Several trustees urged Huewitt, HISD’s chief financial officer, to focus on academics as well as finances. About one-fifth of HISD’s schools are rated low-performing.

“I think this city and I think this board want to make sure we have some stability during this interim time,” trustee Greg Meyers said. “But we also want to make sure we continue to move the needle.”

See here for some background. Most of the rest of the story was about the Board firing its original search firm for finding a new Super and hiring another. No one had anything specific or interesting to say about it, so there’s not much for me to add. As for interim Superintendent Huewitt, I wish him the best of luck. These are tough times, and I presume anyone sitting in that chair will be hesitant to do anything that an incoming Super would not care for. Anything he can do to make things a little better for that next Super will be much appreciated. The HISD News Blog has more about Superintendent Huewitt.

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