In June, a nine-member Board of Managers replaced the Houston Independent School District’s Board of Trustees as a part of the Texas Education Agency’s takeover of HISD. Simultaneously, the school district got a new superintendent – Mike Miles.
The TEA also appointed these board members due to the presence of a conservator assigned to HISD for more than two years.
Since then, the Board of Managers has served as HISD’s school board and had the same job roles and responsibilities as the previous school board, which was elected.
During this time, the positions of the elected trustees remain and will progressively regain control of the district once HISD satisfies TEA’s exit criteria.
On Nov. 7, elections were held at HISD to elect a trustee from two districts. Districts 3 and 4 were held by incumbent trustees Dani Hernandez and Patricia K. Allen, respectively. Hernandez beat contender Fe Bencosme with 78% of the votes, and Allen defeated Meg Seff, garnering 81% of the votes.
District 4 covers parts of southeast Houston, including Yates High School and Sterling High School. Allen, 65, graduated from, taught and served as the principal of Madison High School. She was elected as a trustee in 2019.
District 3 comprises Carnegie Vanguard High School to Chavez High School. Hernandez attended an HISD elementary school and also worked as a bilingual teacher there.
Meanwhile, candidates H. A. “Savant” Moore and Placido Gomez ran unopposed for Districts 2 and 8 respectively, and were appointed to two open seats. Their names did not appear on the ballot. Moore replaced Kathy Blueford-Daniels, while Gomez succeeded Judith Cruz, who did not wish to run again for her seat in District 8.
The new trustees will be sworn into their roles in January 2024.
The Board of Trustees now comprises Elizabeth Santos, Sue Deigaard, Kendall Baker, Bridget Wade, and Myrna Guidry.
The Board of Managers includes Audrey Momanaee, Ric Campo, Angela Lemond Flowers, Michelle Cruz Arnold, Cassandra Auzenne Bandy, Janette Garza Lindner, Rolando Martinez, Paula Mendoza, and Adam P. Rivon. Among them, Flowers, an HISD educator; Auzenne Bandy, a graduate from HISD and PTO volunteer; and P. Rivon, an HISD parent and military veteran, are the three Black representatives.
What will these trustees do at HISD?
Elected trustees will serve in an advisory capacity to the Board of Managers and advocate for the districts they were elected from. They technically do not have any power in the district. They will focus on preparing for the time when trustees do get oversight of the district again.
If HISD meets TEA’s three criteria and the Board of Managers has served for two years, the commissioner will announce a transition timeline to local control or extend the board’s appointment for up to two years more, in June 2025 at the earliest.
If HISD meets these requirements, a third of the elected trustees will replace a third of the unelected members of the Board of Managers every year, until all the trustees return to the school board.
These three criteria include:
- To ensure no campus at HISD receives Ds or Fs as grades for several years,
- HISD’s special education program must comply with federal and state requirements. TEA reported in 2020 that the school district failed to follow federal and state guidelines and in 2021, appointed conservators to supervise special education programs, and
- To make sure the school board focuses on student outcomes.