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Houston ISD votes for Leadership Change

Former superintendent Abelardo Saavedra, right has been voted in to replace Grenita Lathan, left, as the search continues for a permanent superintendent. SEE UPDATE. SAAVEDRA WITHDRAWS.

BULLETIN: Saavedra withdraws; HISD Board to reconsider plans

The Houston Independent School District is bringing in a new interim superintendent. It’s the third leadership change this year for Texas’ largest school district.

At a contentious meeting last Thursday night, the school board voted 5-4 to replace Interim Superintendent Grenita Lathan with former superintendent Abelardo Saavedra, while they are searching for a permanent one.

Former Superintendent Abelardo Saavedra will serve as Interim Superintendent for six months during the search for a permanent superintendent. Saavedra was HISD’s superintendent from 2004 to 2009, and has recently served as superintendent of South San Antonio ISD. He will reportedly not pursue the permanent superintendent position.

“It is nothing that has anything against Dr. Lathan, and the work that she does, and the work that she’s done up to this point,” HISD Trustee Diana Davila told News 88.7. “We just want this to be a fair process for all candidates that are interested in coming down to Houston ISD.” Davila said she welcomes Lathan to apply for the position.

Grenita Lathan was chosen as Interim Superintendent, after the departure of Superintendent Richard Carranza.

Lathan will resume her previous role of Chief Academic Officer on Monday.

The motion to replace Lathan was met with backlash from several board members.

“So, for me, I’m very confused, again, at the hypocrisy of it all,” said Board President Rhonda Skillern-Jones, amid yells from meeting attendees. “But, I do believe in being a president. We have a motion on the floor.”

Trustee Elizabeth Santos expressed frustration at the tone of recent meetings.

“This meeting tonight, everything has been chaos, month, after month, after month,” said Santos. “I can’t even listen to my colleagues speak. We can’t even have discussion on this.”

Lathan became interim superintendent after Richard Carranza left the district to lead the New York City Department of Education, earlier this year.