HISD Board of Education votes to hire search firm tasked with finding new superintendent

The Houston Independent School District Board of Education voted Thursday to hire a search firm to help find a replacement for outgoing Superintendent Terry Grier.

Trustees hired Ray and Associates, an Iowa-based firm that specializes in searches for educational executives and leaders. The firm was among four companies that responded to a request for proposals issued in October. All four were interviewed by the board last month.The search firm will be tasked with developing a superintendent candidate profile. The firm will help trustees host community meetings and gather input from various district stakeholders, including parents and students, school-based staff, district employees, and business and community members. The process is expected to begin in January.

Dr. Grier is currently in his seventh year as HISD superintendent. He plans to step down in March.

Also on Thursday, the Board of Education:

  • Gave final approval to a policy revision calling for suspensions and expulsions to be used as a measure of last resort, a move designed to ensure discipline is administered equitably throughout the district. In coordination, HISD would provide a teacher mentoring system and annual classroom management and equity training to all campus-based faculty and staff. Principals would be required to develop annual plans for improving their school climate, reducing instances of misbehavior and rectifying inequities.
  • Gave final approval to a policy revision providing students with more equitable access to the district’s gifted and talented program. The proposal helps ensure students identified as gifted and talented are able to retain the designation and can remain in the district’s gifted and talented program throughout their tenure in HISD. During the 2013-2014 school year, more than one-third of the district’s 3,527 gifted fifth graders were removed from the program after taking a requalifying test in fifth grade. The vast majority of exited students — more than three-quarters — were Hispanic.
  • Approved a proposal calling for minor attendance boundary adjustments at Crockett, Harvard, Ketelsen and Travis elementary schools. The changes align attendance zones with current freeway networks, eliminating hazardous crossings over Interstate 10 and allowing for better connectivity between neighborhoods and schools. The proposal affects just two Crockett students, both of whom will be allowed to remain at their current school if they so choose.