HOUSTON (FOX 26) - Dr. Terry Grier is stepping down as Houston Independent School District's superintendent.
Some have called Grier divisive for his staff turnover rates and his hard-charging reform efforts, but others have praised him for the changes he led, like his anti-bullying support and his initiative to help low-income students attend prestigious universities.
In a last-minute press conference Thursday afternoon, Superintendent Dr. Terry Grier announced that he is giving up his post.
“A few moments ago, in a closed session, I shared with the board that effective March the 1st of 2016, I'll be stepping down as the superintendent of the Houston Independent School District,” said Grier.
Grier's $300,000/year contract is up June 2016, so he'll be ending his term a few months early.
As for why now, Grier simply said "it's just time," and briefly mentioned a knee replacement.
“You can't be school superintendent of Houston forever, even though you might want to. You just simply can't. You've seen the cane, I've had a knee replacement. It's been really tough. I've got another one coming up in November,” said Grier.
Regarding ongoing issues, he acknowledged there were problems with funding but promised that all the schools that need to be built will be built. Grier did also mention that HISD plans on refinancing some bonds to come up with the $215 million dollars to do that.
Activists and union leaders who were present said they commend Grier for a long tenure and for his work but that there have also been a lot of disagreements.
“I'll give him a 7 how he ran the school district but I would give him a 9 how he worked with the blue collar workers,” said Wretha Thomas, the union president of Houston Educational Personnel, who also said the next superintendent will have to have a clear understanding of HISD’s most pressing needs.
“Dr. Grier has had a longer tenure at HISD than most. Most of that time has been fraught with disagreement and question. However, he did the job that he was hired to do,” said Zeph Capo, the president of the Houston Federation of Teachers.
Looking ahead, education leaders say Grier's replacement will have to consider this:
“Are we going to continue the competition edu-profiteering model where we test and punish our students and teachers? Or are we going to move to a model that's truly based on collaboration, is based on parents and teachers having a voice at the table?” said Capo.
Grier became superintendent in 2009 after a unanimous vote by the Houston Board of Education.