HOUSTON – Dr. Grenita Lathan is officially back as interim superintendent for Houston Independent School District.
The HISD Board voted unanimously Thursday morning to reinstate her.
The board earlier this week on Monday announced that she would be kept on and apologized for their behavior caught on camera during an explosive meeting Oct. 11 in which they removed Dr. Lathan.
They had announced Abe Saavedra as her replacement.
“We, the Board of Trustees of the Houston Independent School District, would like to apologize to Dr. Grenita Lathan, our students, the community at large, the parents and families, all HISD employees, and our business and community partners,” Trustee Diana Davila said.
“We will work to improve our behavior as adults, treat each other with respect, and embark on the right focus of doing all we can to improve academic achievement for all our students,” Trustee Jolanda Jones said.
The initial switch came with a ton of backlash and confusion. Many wondered why it happened in the first place.
Some board members said it was racially motivated. Every Hispanic member of the board voted to replace Dr. Lathan with Saavedra.
“It should be about one color and that is our kids,” said board member Wanda Adams. “And we are not doing that! And I cannot hold my piece anymore.”
Despite talk of a racial divide on the board, Congresswoman Sheila Jackson-Lee and State Senator Boris Miles blamed “miscommunication.”
Houston Mayor Sylvester chimed in on the drama and said what took place on Oct. 11 was not in the best interest of HISD, the children nor the city.
“The last thing that parents and students need to be concerned about is whether or not the board members are getting along with one another,” said Turner. “That should be the least of their worries.”
After the negative reaction from the community and city officials, the board held several meetings to discuss a possible reversal.
On Sunday, Saavedra reportedly said he was no longer interested and the board formally decided to backtrack.
During the news conference, members of the board said it would set a deadline for its search for a permanent superintendent. Dr. Richard Carranza left in March. Since then, Dr. Lathan has served as the interim.
The board also plans to adopt a resolution concerning reconciliation and, perhaps, hire an executive coach to work with the board and Dr. Lathan. They also will consider policies on transparency and more board-superintendent team building.
Dr. Lathan said her focus is and will always be the education of the children.
"We have a lot of work ahead of us, and we need to move forward to provide every single student in HISD with the same opportunities to succeed,” Dr. Lathan said.
Dr. Lathan wants to keep the job as superintendent permanently, Jackson-Lee said.