HOUSTON - Houston ISD's board of trustees voted not to name interim Dr. Grenita Lathan as the sole finalist for superintendent at Thursday's board meeting.
Instead, the board voted six to three to continue a national search for additional candidates.
Dr. Grenita Lathan has served as interim superintendent for 2 years and 8 months.
Trustees who voted against Dr. Lathan urged her to participate in the search.
The board's vote Thursday ultimately overlooked an overwhelming majority of speakers who chimed in to the meeting to voice their support for Lathan to get the job permanently.
"We do not serve the public or our students by giving a permanent contract to anybody without first pulling out for a search. To do our best job for any issue, we need the best information we can get," said trustee Elizabeth Santos.
Trustee Wanda Adams was vocal about her disappointment in the board members that did not support Lathan.
Thursday marks Adams’ last meeting as she was recently elected to serve as Precinct 7's Justice of the Peace in Harris County.
"I just hope and pray that as you all move forward, that you lead with honesty and integrity. Keep politics out of your decisions that you make," Adams said.
More than a 100 speakers chimed in with their input during the board meeting.
Members of The Houston Federation of Teachers said they support Dr. Lathan for the job, but only for a 1-year contract.
"The district needs stability as we face several threats," said Daniel Santos.
Many HISD educators, parents and elected officials including Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee, strongly supported Dr. Lathan, citing her successful track record with academics and handling of the pandemic.
"In the midst of a pandemic and in the midst of Hurricane Harvey, I saw her as I stood side-by-side on many occasions, as she confronted these insurmountable odds," said Lee.
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Meanwhile, several others said the search would offer transparency and hire the best person for the job.
"This item was abruptly added to the agenda this past Monday with no community knowledge or no recent feedback from the community. Let us formally begin the search. Let us conduct due diligence," said Rolando Martinez.
No word yet on when the search for additional candidates will begin.