Why he decided to leave HISD: “The opportunity — which I did not seek, I was approached – but the opportunity to lead a school system of 1.1 million students with 1,800 schools, 125,000 employees, five times the size of HISD — at the end of the day was an opportunity to serve many more students that I couldn’t turn down … And people have been just very, very understanding. And when they understand the context – I’m not fleeing anything — they understand, ‘Wow, yeah, that’s a big system and I can understand as a superintendent, how, if it makes sense, something anybody would want to do.'”
If politics with the HISD board influenced his decision: “The decision was really predicated upon the kind of conversations I had with Mayor de Blasio in New York. New York is mayoral control, so there is no school board. It’s the mayor. As he and I had our conversations, we are politically and philosophically very aligned … The (HISD) board and I have had a great working relationship. We push each other’s thinking in a lot of different ways. Again, this is decision squarely based on the alignment that I felt and the opportunity to serve 1.1 million students in America’s largest school system.”
If a lack of an extension on his three-year contract -impacted his departure: “That did not factor into my decision. Quite frankly, I have a three-year contract. I know folks have talked about, you know, I’ve only been here 18 months, well, I only have 16 months left. So I was on the other side of that … Anybody who is working for a living is going to want to know if there’s some job stability and if not, they want enough time so that they can actually look at their options.”
To listen to the full interview, click below.