Education News

Back-to-School Kicks Off First Full Year for Houston Schools’ Interim Superintendent

News 88.7 asked Grenita Lathan how long she’d be willing to lead the district without a permanent contract.

Interim Superintendent Grenita Lathan welcomed students back to Hilliard Elementary in Northeast Houston Monday. Students, who had been displaced from their home campus last year by Harvey, returned to a renovated facility. Despite that challenge, Hilliard Elementary improved its state rating  last year.
Interim Superintendent Grenita Lathan welcomed students back to Hilliard Elementary in Northeast Houston Monday. Students, who had been displaced from their home campus last year by Harvey, returned to a renovated facility. Despite that challenge, Hilliard Elementary improved its state rating last year.

Veteran administrator Grenita Lathan quickly stepped into the superintendent’s role in March, after Richard Carranza resigned and left for New York City public schools. Five months later, she’s launching her first full year as Houston’s interim superintendent. 

But some Houston school board members feel she’s already proved herself enough to get the job — permanently. Some are literally praying that she gets a contract.

“And I’m asking God will touch the hearts of the naysayers that this be our next superintendent of the Houston Independent School District Board of Education,” said Trustee Wanda Adams in an emotional speech earlier this month.

Adams noted how, under Lathan’s leadership, the Houston district has reduced the number of struggling schools on the state’s watch list, like Worthing High School.

News 88.7 asked Lathan how long she’d be willing to lead the state’s largest school district without a permanent contract.

“Until  — I mean the job has to be done, children have to be educated … and an employer will not care whether it was an interim superintendent or superintendent. They want a high quality employee. And I’m going to do what I need to do,” Lathan said.

Earlier this summer, Houston school board president Rhonda Skillern-Jones put a motion before her colleagues to consider a contract for Lathan, but trustees didn’t vote on it, with some questioning the timing.

 

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Laura Isensee

Education Reporter

Laura Isensee covers education for Houston Public Media, including K-12 and higher education. Previously, she was a staff reporter at The Miami Herald and contributed to South Florida’s NPR affiliate. Her work has also appeared in The Dallas Morning News, Reuters and Clarín in Argentina. Laura has won awards for...

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