A superintendent’s job is always high-pressure, however, the pandemic made it an even more stressful environment. With the increasing political heat around mask mandates and critical race theory and the ongoing fight with angry parents who are out on the hunt, the climate has reached a level of toxicity that might be the root for many of the recent resignations and retirements.
According to WFAA, since November 2021 eight superintendents from eight local school districts have announced they are resigning or retiring from their leadership positions – three happened on the same day, Jan. 13, 2022.
The three superintendents that resigned the same day are:
1. Dallas ISD Superintendent Dr. Michael Hinojosa
According to a press release, Hinojosa announced he was stepping down on Jan. 13, 2022, after 42 years in public education and 13 years with Dallas ISD.
“I think it was just a good time for us to do this,” Hinojosa said. “I did warn the board that being a lame duck is no fun. But I also told them, ‘I may be a lame duck, but I’m not a dead duck,’ so people better listen to me because we have to get a lot of things done for kids.”
When asked by KERA news if the current culture battles between Texas officials and school districts was a reason for his departure, Hinojosa said that was not the case for him, but was definitely having an impact in Dallas County.
“I have friends that tell me about this job – they didn’t sign up for this. It is wearing people down. And in Dallas County, we have a lot of vacancies for superintendent right now. So I think it has an impact and I’m not going to apologize for being outspoken.”
2. Fort Worth ISD Superintendent Kent Scribner
On Jan. 13, 2022, Scribner announced he was stepping down from his position when his current contract was up. According to a district press release he officially informed the Board of Trustees on Dec. 16, 2021. His contract officially expires on Aug. 31, 2024.
Scribner worked in education for more than 30 years and was a superintendent for 20 years.
Like other districts, Fort Worth ISD dealt with challenges surrounding the pandemic – including the digital divide, learning loss, and the battle between parents, school leaders, and government officials over mask mandates, as reported by WFAA.
Besides becoming involved in mask mandate lawsuits, Fort Worth ISD was caught in a debate over the possible teaching of critical race theory, and opponents of the notion called for Scribner to step down from his role.
3. Northwest ISD Superintendent Dr. Ryder Warren
On Jan. 13, 2022, Warren announced that he will retire in July 2022. The district has already begun the process for his replacement and will keep Northwest ISD families updated in the coming weeks and months.
Other superintendents who resigned or retired include:
- DeSoto ISD Superintendent D’Andre Weaver (announced Nov. 15, 2021)
- Richardson ISD superintendent Jeannie Stone (announced Dec. 13, 2021)
- Lewisville ISD Superintendent Kevin Rogers (announced Nov. 2, 2021)
- Mesquite ISD Superintendent David Vroonland (announced Dec. 13, 2021)
- Hurst-Euless-Bedford ISD Superintendent Steve Chapman (announced Dec. 14, 2021)
Texas public schools have 55 superintendent vacancies right now, and it’s too early to tell whether this number portends a resignation crisis.
Kevin Brown, executive director of the Texas Association of School Administrators, expects the number of vacancies to grow. He told The Dallas Morning News that politics is clearly pushing many quality school administrators out the door.
“People are just exhausted,” Brown said. “It is becoming more difficult to focus on what’s right for the children.”