KATY (FOX 26) - Change is coming to the Katy school district. Superintendent Alton Frailey announced Tuesday he's retiring, as of August 31, 2016, to move on to other opportunities.
Frailey has been Katy ISD's superintendent for 9 years, since 2007. According to his profile on the Katy ISD web site, Frailey moved the district's status from the TEA's "academically acceptable" to "recognized" status within a year of his arrival. During his tenure, the district grew from 54,000 to 73,000 students, and added 16 new schools.
Frailey has also overseen the approval of the controversial second football stadium, which recently became the most expensive high school stadium in the country at $61 million.
"He is not fiscally responsible," says Katy parent Cyndi Lawrence. "Here they have the most expensive stadium, and they're cutting educational programs."
Lawrence has closely watched the district's spending these past several years, noting that Frailey also suddenly laid off hundreds of teachers in one day, in the name of budget cuts.
Over the years, Frailey acquired a reputation as being divisive and punishing against people who spoke out against the district.
"Theres a lot a leader can do to bring in unity and listening to those who may be unhappy," says Lawrence. "That's part of being a leader, and he has not been one of those leaders."
In October, he came down hard on 7th grader Jordan Wooley, who brought the "God is a Myth" lesson into the national spotlight. Frailey said no other student corroborated Jordan's account of that lesson, but they had, and Frailey never corrected the record.
Frailey is walking away from an annual base salary of $288,000. It's a bit of a surprise to some, because the district just extended his contract for three years in June 2015. In Thursday's announcement, Frailey indicated he'd notified Katy ISD's Board of Trustees of his retirement in the Fall.
Rumors have been swirling that Frailey is interested in the top job at Houston ISD. Superintendent Terry Grier is leaving the district at the end of March. Frailey will be busy in the coming year with the American Association of School Administrators where he is president-elect.