Education

If HISD Can Slow Down, Then Community Members Might Have a Chance For Input About Principal Hires

Superintendent Mike Miles fast tracks principal selections in HISD
Superintendent Mike Miles fast tracks principal selections in HISD Photo by Margaret Downing

Maybe it was the three days off from summer school that gave them extra time to work on it, but Houston ISD on Wednesday published its new plan for how it's going to select principals, with and without community input.

If a District Superintendent decides that a "direct appointment" is needed as when they need to move quickly, that action will be approved by Superintendent Mike Miles. The appointment will go to an internal candidate or one from the principal pipeline and will be made by the "division leadership."

Members of the community will not be involved in this fast tracked approach.

If the HISD administration believes they can take more time to pick a principal they will create a principal profile that will supposedly match candidates' attributes to a particular campus. "The principal profile will be shaped from input from parents and caregivers in the school community," the new procedure, filed under governance documents on the HISD website, states.

Asked how schools will gather this community input, An HISD press spokesman said: "Each division and campus may use slightly different tools to solicit community input. For example, campuses can use community surveys, community meetings, and PTO and SDMC engagement."

Under less hurried conditions, principal vacancies will be advertised for 10 days.

The whole issue rose to a head after parents at several schools including Herod Elementary were told there would be no input from the  Shared Decision-Making Committee on principal hires. Those committees, established by the state in 2022 were to be school-based and made of parents, community and business leaders, faculty and staff. Members would develop a desired profile of their next principal.

"Giving a community little to no input has in choosing  a principal has been happening in under-resourced  black and brown communities for decades. Now it's happening in middle class and affluent communities too This isn't the way equity is supposed to go.," said Ruth Kravetz, community activist and former HISD.

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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