Dallas ISD Superintendent Dr. Michael Hinojosa says he will step down from his post leading the state’s second-largest school system by the end of this year.
Hinojosa, 65, shared news of his forthcoming resignation on a call with other Texas superintendents this week and confirmed it publicly during a news conference Thursday afternoon when he said his last day will be Dec. 31, 2022.
Members of the education community NBC 5 spoke with on Wednesday were surprised by news of Hinojosa's upcoming announcement and were quick to issue praise for his career.
"Dr. Hinojosa is an amazingly gifted education leader who has had a profound impact on children across Dallas and his influence has helped kids throughout Texas," said Mike Morath, Texas Commissioner of Education and a former Dallas ISD Trustee.
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"He's been a transformational leader for Dallas ISD. He's done it with integrity, he's done it with honesty. He's tough, he's fair and leaves a legacy of excellence," said Grapevine-Colleyville ISD Superintendent Robin Ryan, who once worked for Hinojosa in Dallas.
Trustee Joyce Foreman is known for being one of the first to step up and challenge Hinojosa and was still at it when asked about the resignation.
"It's kinda untimely," she said. "150,000 students who are still struggling during the pandemic."
In an interview with us in August, Hinojosa said the struggles of the pandemic gave him job security but added that the entire community needed to step in to help students.
"We all have to accept the responsibility that this is what we've got to do, and things are urgent, our hair needs to be on fire right now," said Hinojosa in August.
How long Hinojosa will stay in his current post will depend on how quickly trustees can identify his replacement.
One leading candidate is Dr. Susana Cordova, who was handpicked by Hinojosa as assistant superintendent. Cordova previously led Denver Public Schools and calls Hinojosa her longtime mentor.
Hinojosa has previously stated his contract called for him to have a succession plan and hire a replacement. He's been a strong supporter of Cordova since her arrival at Dallas ISD in 2021.
Foreman said picking the successor is the board's job, and she never intended for Hinojosa to do it. She planned to continue to look at others while calling Cordova, "a nice woman."
Hinojosa hasn’t publicly said what his next plans are. Local political observers have often speculated to the Dallas Morning News that the Dallas native would seek public office – perhaps as soon as the upcoming 2023 Dallas mayoral race.