HISD Pays Off Fired Kashmere Principal Mable Caleb, 6 Years Later

On Thursday, with very little fanfare, the trustees of the Houston Independent School District voted to approve a $550,000 settlement payment to former Kashmere High School principal Mable Caleb.

The news, dispatched in a terse public relations statement from HISD, could not have been more different from the hoopla that surrounded the supposed uncovering of questionable deeds six years ago.

Terry Grier, who was not that far into his term as the new HISD superintendent, called a press conference to announce that Kashmere and Key Middle School leaders were being investigated for possible shenanigans that included charges of cheating on tests and stealing school property. Grier announced that there was no way he was going to allow illegal activities to go on in his district.

This wasn't the first time Caleb had been in trouble; while principal at Key Middle School, Caleb was demoted after a 2005 test cheating scandal at the school but trustees rallied to protect her and reinstated her, countering then-superintendent Abe Saavedra. The new evidence in 2010 seemed damning and solid, complete with video of school equipment being moved off-site. 

Caleb was fired in an 8-1 vote (trustee Carol Mims Galloway the lone opponent) along with five other administrators or teachers at Kashmere and Key. The matter seemed settled.

As we reported in 2014, however, an administrative law judge cleared her of all charges that year. The media attention to that development was in inverse proportion to the initial charges. It became just another minor footnote to the big event.

Caleb filed suit against the district and this week trustees – a somewhat different board with a new superintendent – decided to pay and walk away. “Trustees agreed to the settlement in order to bring final resolution to the matter and move forward,” the HISD statement read.

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Margaret Downing is the editor-in-chief who oversees the Houston Press newsroom and its online publication. She frequently writes on a wide range of subjects.
Contact: Margaret Downing