Former Colleyville Principal Running for State Board of Education Seat

The former principal of Colleyville Heritage High School has filed to run for a seat on the State Board of Education.

James Whitfield plans to run in the Democratic Party for the District 11 seat currently held by Republican Patricia Hardy.

Hardy has filed to retain her seat. Republicans Joshua Tarbay, Rebecca Garcia have also filed to run.

Luis Sifuentes has filed to run a a Democrat, and Daniel “DC” Caldwell has filed to run in multiple parties.

Whitfield tendered his resignation as principal at Colleyville Heritage High School last month after "disputes" between him and Grapevine-Colleyville ISD, the district says.

His resignation is effective Aug. 15, 2023, and he will remain on paid administrative leave until then as part of a settlement agreement with the district.

Whitfield, who is Black, was named principal of Colleyville Heritage before the 2020-21 school year and was soon after accused online and in board meetings of teaching critical race theory, a buzzword for parents and politicians who feel that efforts to teach America’s difficult history on race, and make classrooms more comfortable with diversity, have become too divisive.

"I have done nothing wrong by anyone," Whitfield said in a statement on Aug. 30. "I’ve only chosen to speak up after they allowed that man to speak my name at the board meeting. Instead of speaking out against the behavior … they came after me."

Whitfield said he was also asked to take down anniversary photos of him and his wife, who is white, embracing on the beach.

A district spokesperson said some of the photos "contained poses that are questionable for an educator, especially a principal or administrator."

A petition in support of Whitfield gained hundreds of signatures.

Ultimately, the district said critical race theory nor the photos were the reason Whitfield was placed on leave, instead, calling it a "personnel matter."

What is Critical Race Theory?

Critical race theory is a way of thinking about America’s history through the lens of racism. Scholars developed it during the 1970s and 1980s in response to what they viewed as a lack of racial progress following the civil rights legislation of the 1960s. It centers on the idea that racism is systemic in the nation’s institutions and that they function to maintain the dominance of white people in society. The architects of the theory argue that the United States was founded on the theft of land and labor and that federal law has preserved the unequal treatment of people on the basis of race. Proponents also believe race is culturally invented, not biological. Read more about CRT here.

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