HISD goes back to superintendent drawing board after Saavedra withdraws as interim

HOUSTON – In a stunning reversal, former Houston Independent School District superintendent Abe Saavedra will not return to accept the interim superintendent role.

During a heated meeting last Thursday, the board approved a motion 5-4 to replace Grenita Lathan with Saavedra as the interim superintendent.

Saavedra told KPRC2 Sunday night he withdrew his name, saying in a statement to KPRC2, "Dr. Saavedra attended a team building workshop with the board and at some point during the day he began to realize that the board should move in a different direction. He says changing the interim superintendent was not the solution to HISD's problem and withdrew his name because a change of leadership was not the best move."

HISD board member Diana Davila told KPRC2 Sunday night, "The board has decided to move in another direction as a team of 10. This decision has divided the board and community and our children and community deserve better from us." 

Saavedra was to have served a six-month term.

HISD will hold a news conference at 5 p.m. Monday to discuss the changes to the interim superintendent position.

"I wish more time would have been taken to think through (last) Thursday's decision so that we didn't get in this place where we are now," Zeph Capo, president of the Houston Federation of Teachers, said.

Capo said he hopes Monday's meeting will show more communication between the board and a shift in focus.

"We need to spend more time focusing on a permanent superintendent. All this time spent on an interim, frankly, is keeping them from making the decision on who is going to lead," Capo said.

Mayor Sylvester Turner, who was outspoken against the board's motion last week, released a statement Sunday night that read:

"This is a good outcome for today. But our children need a board with trustees working together, harmoniously, for the good of the children now and in the future. 

"The only question that should be asked and answered is what is in the best interests of the 215,000 students in the district. Also, the administration should be allowed to do its job.

"People have become impatient with a dysfunctional board. There is no tolerance for bad behavior, regardless of who the bad actors are, when it comes at the expense of what’s best for our children."

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