HOUSTON - Houston ISD board trustees are expected to vote on Thursday to either name interim Dr. Granita Lathan as the sole finalist for superintendent or resume their search for new candidates.
Trustee Wanda Adams is vocal about her support for naming Dr. Lathan as the lone finalist.
Dr. Lathan has served as interim superintendent for two years and eight months, an unprecedented amount of time in the district’s history.
Adams believes Dr. Lathan is more than qualified.
"We have gone through so much as a district. She has proven herself. She's brought our ratings up. She's closed IR campuses to where they’re now either C’s or B’s. She's done an amazing job academically at putting kids first. I think she’s well-deserving of this. We’re not going to get any good candidates in the situation that we’re in right now. But we have someone that wants to stick and stay," Adams said.
Looking at HISD’s past, there are at least three board members still serving that did not support Dr. Lathan, trying to oust her in 2018.
The move lead to some of the most volatile times in HISD’s history causing the Texas Education Agency to launch an investigation and attempt for a state takeover of the district, which remains tied up in court.
"We are still waiting to hear from the Texas Supreme Court. If a search is done, I can't imagine a search is finished before the Supreme Court makes a ruling," said Sue Deigaard, the board's president.
Deigaard said it’s unclear what trustees legally can do in their search for a superintendent while they await the court’s decision.
Deigaard has insisted on remaining neutral leading into Thursday’s vote, citing concerns about repeating history.
"You want me to be completely candid? I am so traumatized by what happened two years ago. I do not want to even come close to violating the Open Meetings Act. I do not want to know where all my colleagues are. My hope is that we can have a civil and collaborative conversation about this, and that we’re not playing politics. We’re not deal-making, that we can all find some kind of common ground," Deigaard said.
Dr. Granita Lathan released a statement Tuesday, in response:
"During my five-year tenure with HISD, my focus has been, and always remains, on putting children first. As HISD’s interim superintendent for the past 2 years and 8 months, my team and I have worked diligently on behalf of our students and their families to initiate programs to improve academic performance, led historically underperforming schools out of Improvement Required status and expanded fine arts education. During this time, the district’s financial condition has continued to be strong and the district has maintained its AAA bond rating from Moody’s and AA+ from Standard and Poor’s. In addition, we have led the district through Hurricane Harvey’s recovery efforts and continue to navigate together through the current global pandemic. Through it all, our focus is and will continue to be our students’ success. I would welcome the opportunity to continue the work to elevate the academic, social, and emotional outcomes for all students in our district."