The district hosted a celebration of service for outgoing Superintendent Terry Grier on Wednesday to mark his decision to step down on Feb. 29 after serving nearly seven years in HISD’s top job.
The event drew dozens of community supporters, elected officials, principals, and district staff to the Hattie Mae White Educational Support Center, where Dr. Grier’s accomplishments were remembered and lauded.
Board President Manuel Rodriguez praised the superintendent for his ability to get things done for the children of Houston, specifically programs to help recover students at risk of dropping out, and for implementing the district’s 1-1 laptop initiative, which has put laptops in the hands of all 65,000 HISD high school students.
Former Trustee Paula Harris, as well as Trustees Rhonda Skillern-Jones and Greg Meyers, echoed Rodriguez in thanking the superintendent for his commitment to the district. “As long as we focus on putting kids first,” Meyers said, “great things will happen.”
Gayle Fallon, president emeritus of the Houston Federation of Teachers, said she and Dr. Grier didn’t always agree on issues but they were always able to speak honestly with one another.
Licia Green presented Dr. Grier with a proclamation on behalf of State Sen. Rodney Ellis in honor of his work with the district, and State Rep. Senfronia Thompson specifically commended Grier’s ability to work with legislators and board members. “Sometimes people want to be the whole show,” she said. “He was never that way.”
Deputy Superintendent and Chief Financial Officer Ken Huewitt drew laughs when he carried a life-size photo cutout of Dr. Grier to the stage and joked about always trying to find money for all of the superintendent’s initiatives. “We did get a lot done,” he said, on a more serious note. “You left this place better than when you found it.”
Dr. Grier acknowledged all the progress under his tenure but said he wished he could have done more.
“We have a lot to be proud of,” he said, “but we have so much left to do.”