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North Texas Superintendents Face Challenges, Several Stepping Aside

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During what’s being called the great resignation, leaders in public education are making waves as well. Dallas ISD superintendent Dr. Michael Hinojosa is one of the latest among a handful of North Texas Superintendents stepping aside from the position.

“I am going to exit as superintendent. My last official day will be December 31 of 2022,” said Hinojosa at a press conference Thursday.

Dr. Hinojosa’s press conference comes on the same day Fort Worth superintendent Dr. Kent Scribner says he’ll retire.

Dr. Stephanie Knight is Dean of SMU’S school of Education and Human Development. She said the role is stressful even in the best of times.

“There are political obstacles. High-stakes accountability. Funding issues. The challenge of meeting the needs of diverse students. Finding qualified teachers. I could go on and on. But you get the idea,” Knight said.

She said the global pandemic created challenges they hadn’t seen before now. There’s burnout from navigating the day-to-day logistics but Dr.Knight said that’s not what’s most disturbing. Instead, she believes it’s the vitriol and divisiveness.

“I think perhaps the most detrimental of all is dealing with the polarization around any decision that the superintendent makes,” she said. “There are fervent emotional responses by all groups, to vaccines, to face masks, to how learning takes place.”

Drs. Hinojosa and Scribner join former Richardson ISD superintendent Dr. Jeannie Stone and former DeSoto superintendent Dr. D’Andre Weaver who stepped down from their positions within the last couple of months.

Dr. Knight said the people who fill these positions will need to have experience in crisis management. As for training up the next generation of leaders in public education, she said this moment in time is an opportunity to reflect on how to prepare leaders

“What do we need in the next generation of leaders? How do universities need to prepare our superintendents so that they can persist and have a positive impact?” said Dr. Knight. “This is an opportunity.”

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