From the Houston Chronicle, May 21, 2021:
Houston ISD trustees unanimously voted Friday to name Millard House II as their lone superintendent finalist, tapping the leader of Tennessee’s Clarksville-Montgomery County School System to guide the district past a tumultuous period of instability.
House will arrive in Houston after spending four years as superintendent of Clarksville-Montgomery , a public school district home to about 37,000 students near the Tennessee-Kentucky border. House previously worked as chief operating officer of Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools in North Carolina, deputy superintendent of Tulsa Public Schools in Oklahoma and as a school leadership consultant.
House also will be stepping into a political and legal maelstrom, which could threaten to cut his tenure in Houston short.
Texas Education Commissioner Mike Morath and HISD trustees are locked in litigation over Morath’s desire to replace all nine elected school board members. In justifying his move, Morath has cited a state law aimed at punishing districts with any chronically low-rated schools, a state investigation that documented multiple instances of trustee misconduct and the continued presence of a state-appointed conservator overseeing long-struggling campuses in HISD.
A Travis County judge granted a temporary injunction in January 2020 halting the board’s ouster, and the Third Circuit Court of Appeals upheld the decision last December. In a 2-1 decision, the appellate judges ruled that Texas Education Agency officials failed to meet the legal requirements for removing HISD’s board on all three avenues cited by Morath.
An appeal by Morath to the Texas Supreme Court remains pending. State lawmakers also are considering legislative proposals that would hasten the HISD board’s ouster.
If Morath prevails or legislators spur the removal of HISD trustees, the commissioner would choose members of a replacement board and select the district’s superintendent.