Melinda Garrett, who's been directing the finances of the Houston school district for more than a decade, announced today she'll be retiring after 30 years in education.
"I am deeply honored to have had the privilege of serving the children, taxpayers and employees of HISD for all these years," Garrett said. "But I'm ready to start this next chapter of my life, spending time with my husband and our family."
Her last day on the job will be in December.
Garrett become HISD's chief financial officer in 2001, overseeing the cash at an enterprise that involves 200,000 students and 30,000 employees during a time of shrinking state and federal support for public education.
"No single person has contributed more than Melinda Garrett toward HISD's national reputation as a model district when it comes to managing taxpayer money with a focus on doing what is best for children," HISD superintendent Terry Grier said. "It is because of Melinda's excellent long-term financial planning during these tight budget times that our students have the resources they need to continue outperforming their peers across the state and nation."
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Board president Michael Lunceford also praised the Bellaire High grad, who got her start teaching kindergarten.
"Melinda Garrett is one of the few people in Texas who really grasp all the intricacies of our state's school finance system," he said. "What's even more remarkable is that she understands the history and nuance behind the system. And she has the skills and patience to help the rest of us to understand, so that we can make informed decisions that result in money going where it's needed the most -- classrooms."
A search has begun for Garrett's successor, HISD says.