Houston Newsmakers March 10: HISD interim superintendent staying steady

Dr. Grenita Lathan says permanent job is not her priority

HOUSTON – Dr. Grenita Lathan has been the interim superintendent for the Houston Independent School System for almost a year, leading a board of trustees that seems to have no interest in naming her to the permanent position.

She says that’s just fine with her.

“When you’re called to serve you’re not caught up on what the title is,” she said on this week’s Houston Newsmakers with Khambrel Marshall. “You’re caught up in the work, and right now, our children and our district and our community, they need stability, and for me, that stability is leading and being in this position.”

Lathan talks about the HISD challenges this past year, calls from a state senator to change the way the board is elected and the claim from one trustee that the board is racially divided.  

“There are team issues,” she says in disputing that claim. “There are issues that need to be resolved, but as it gets into whether it’s a race issue, the issue is we need to decide how we can best work together.”

Hear much more from Lathan on this week’s Houston Newsmakers.

Extremely deadly cancer kills son, inspires mother 

Chris Johnson was diagnosed with renal medullary carcinoma (RMC). Then, 15 months later, he was dead from that very aggressive and incurable cancer that strikes carriers of the Sickle Cell trait.

Now, his mother, Ritchie Johnson, has taken up the cause of raising awareness.

“There was very little information out there. Even surfing on the internet, I did find a little bit, but it was all really devastating. You know, these children only lived three or four months at that time,” she said, adding that she knows more about the disease now.

Johnson has written a book, "Mama I’m Tired", and has started the CJ Johnson Foundation to raise funds and awareness. The sixth annual Keepin' it Renal Walk/Run is scheduled for March 23 at Sugar Land Memorial Park. For information, go to https://chrisjohnsonfoundation.org 

Pavlos Msaouel is an assistant professor in the Department of Genitourinary Medical Oncology at MD Anderson Cancer Center. He says it is a very uphill battle in finding an effective treatment and that sickle cell carriers are particularly vulnerable.

“Many people who are diagnosed with this disease do not even know they carry the sickle cell trait,” he said. “And even if they do, they do not know that they can be at risk for this cancer.”

Hear more on this week’s Houston Newsmakers Sunday at 10:30 a.m.  

There is a Newsmakers EXTRA focusing on RMC.

VIDEO: Newsmakers EXTRA Renal Medullary Carcinoma (RMC)

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