Houston ISD Trustees Name Tennessee Millard House II Educator As Sole Superintendent Finalist

Houston ISD administrators voted unanimously on Friday to nominate Millard House II as the sole superintendent finalist, calling on the head of the Clarksville-Montgomery County school system in Tennessee to guide the district beyond a period of d tumultuous instability.

House will arrive in Houston after spending four years as superintendent of Clarksville-Montgomery, a public school district with approximately 37,000 students near the Tennessee-Kentucky border. House previously worked as the COO of Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools in North Carolina, Assistant Superintendent of Tulsa Public Schools in Oklahoma, and as a school leadership consultant.

“Mr. House is a dynamic leader, a visionary and his heart is for the students, teachers and staff,” said Jimmie Garland, a 19-year-old member of the Clarksville-Montgomery County School Board. one could have it, we would lose a jewel. “

The district must wait 21 days before signing a contract with the sole finalist.

House will replace acting superintendent Grenita Lathan, who plans to leave in June after an unusually long stint of three years as superintendent of public schools in Springfield, Missouri.

None of House’s previous judgments included public or private schools in Texas, and he is not well known to education executives in Houston. House is a member of Chiefs For Change, an exclusive network of education administrators that includes the Superintendents of Aldine and San Antonio ISD and the former Superintendent of Spring Branch ISD.

In Houston, House will support a much larger district with a very different student demographics.

About 65 percent of the children who attend Clarksville-Montgomery County are white, 20 percent are black, and 10 percent are Hispanic. Parents with children in the district have a median family income of about $ 63,200, according to federal estimates.

HISD serves nearly 200,000 students. About 60 percent are Hispanic, nearly 25 percent are black, and 10 percent are white. The median household income is around $ 44,100.

House will also enter a political and legal maelstrom, which could threaten to cut short his tenure in Houston.

Texas Education Commissioner Mike Morath and HISD administrators are locked in litigation over Morath’s desire to replace the nine elected school board members. To justify his decision, Morath cited a state law aimed at punishing districts with chronically poorly rated schools, a state investigation that documented multiple instances of administrator misconduct and the continued presence of a state-appointed curator overseeing HISD’s struggling campuses. .

A Travis County judge granted a temporary injunction in January 2020 to end the council’s ouster, and the Third Circuit Court of Appeals upheld the decision last December. In a 2-1 decision, the appeals judges ruled that Texas Education Agency officials had failed to meet legal requirements to remove the HISD board of directors on the three avenues cited by Morath.

Morath’s appeal to the Texas Supreme Court is still pending. State lawmakers are also considering legislative proposals that would speed up the ousting of the HISD board.

If Morath wins or if lawmakers encourage the removal of the HISD directors, the commissioner would choose the members of a replacement council and choose the district superintendent.

House is the son of a revered Tulsa public school administrator who helped lead desegregation efforts in the district and retired as deputy superintendent. After graduating from the University of Montevallo in Alabama in 1995, House returned home to begin his educational career as a physical education teacher.

Within four years, House assumed a senior position in Tulsa, taking one of the lowest-rated schools in the district and significantly increasing his stature. He was then founding director of a Tulsa public school campus opened in partnership with the KIPP charter network. In 2008, he rose to a central administrative role in the district.

House moved to Charlotte in 2012, moving to a COO position. While his previous stints have focused on university students, the COO position focuses primarily on facilities, transportation, security and other similar areas. He spent a year in the district before joining a nonprofit school leadership organization in Charlotte and an organizational consulting group in South Carolina.

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