Houston School Board Names Superintendent Finalist

The Houston School Board names a lone finalist for superintendent of the HISD. He’s Doctor Terry Grier, the current superintendent of the San Diego unified school district. Pat Hernandez has more.

Houston School Board President Larry Marshall made it official.

“This board of education has voted unanimously for the next superintendent of the Houston Independent School District.” (applause)

Terry Grier said he was humbled to be named finalist, and is excited about the opportunities that are here in Houston. He leaves a much smaller district in San Diego, but says there are similar challenges.

“One of the things that I’ve noticed at looking at the data about HISD is the dropout rate is just unacceptably low. The graduation has to go up. Those are two of the things that I want to focus on immediately. There’s alto a good that’s going on, a lot of things to be proud of. I’ve seen the test scores. A lot of people ask, ‘How do you do so well on value added growth and then you don’t so well on adequate yearly progress?’ So, there’s work to do there too, the graduation rate, dropout rate.”

He leaves San Diego after a year on the job. Camille Zambro is president of the San Diego Education Association. She says they’re not surprised that Grier was looking for a job elsewhere and adds…he was not a very good fit for them.

“It’s been a very difficult time in terms of just the economic crisis here in California, but that’s also been complicated, because the superintendent has failed to provide accurate information so that school board members can make solid decisions.”

Asked about the criticism, Dr Grier says it comes with the job.

“I care deeply about children, and the one thing that you even find about most of your critics, they care about children too, and you try to work together to find bridges to bridge those differences. And so, that’s what I forward to trying to do here.”

Gayle Fallon heads the Houston Federation of Teachers. She’s heard the criticism too, but says she’s ready to give Grier a chance.

“I don’t prejudge anyone I mean, I got people that I’ve been told that I would never get along with, so I got along with beautifully. We don’t have to agree on everything but, he’s gotta be willing to work with us.”

Grier says he knows what it will take for him to be successful.

“The real key to large districts is having key people around you that are talented, that are creative, that will work hard, that will share the vision of the board and the superintendent and the community. People that are not yes people, that will tell you what you need to hear, not what you you want to hear. And I’ve heard there’s a lot of those people like that right here at HISD.”

No official start has been established for Grier, but the school board named district financial officer Melinda Garrett interim superintendent.

PH, KUHF-Houston Public Radio News