One of CISD superintendent finalists, named in EPISD cheating audit

One of CISD superintendent finalists, named in EPISD cheating audit

POSTED: Wednesday, April 3, 2013 - 9:10pm

UPDATED: Friday, April 5, 2013 - 9:34am

The Canutillo Independent School District Board of Trustees named three educators as finalists for the Superintendent's position, but one of the candidates may be controversial.

CISD started it's superintendent search in January after releasing former Superintendent Damon Murphy from his job when he was linked to both cheating there and at the El Paso Independent School District.
The Board of Trustees narrowed the applicant pool down to the finalists.

"We're moving forward in a very positive way and there are three candidates we feel are very qualified for the positions," said Gustavo Reveles, the spokesperson for Canutillo Independent School District.

They include: Dr.Pedro Galaviz from Austin, Ricardo Lopez, the current Area Superintendent for Ysleta Independent School District and Dr.James Steinhauser, the current Assistant Superintendent for research and evaluation for EPISD. Steinhauser was mentioned five times in the weaver report, a forensic audit of EPISD's cheating scandal, that was released on Monday.

"I'd hate to speculate about anything that has to do with EPISD. There's due process and it seems EPISD followed that due process last night and it's again an opportunity for us to do the same. We're gonna vet our candidates," said Reveles.

In the report, the Weaver firm said Steinhauser's department had access to all the numbers that pointed to the cheating, but never detected it in the first place.

"You don't expect people to cheat or break laws until, as the weaver report said, the benefit of hindsight, you can go back and say well now I see what happened. You're just expecting people to do their job well and take a care of children," said Steinhauser.

Steinhauser started with EPISD right around the time the investigation began.

"I gave all the information to the authorities doing the investigation. It was not our job to investigate what was going on in the allegations," said Steinhauser.

It wasn't until after Senator Shapleigh brought the numbers to the district, that Steinhauser's department looked into it.

"It was about time that it happened, because it woke people up, to say we need to look at this," said Steinhauser.

For the final selection phase, CISD board members will research the backgrounds of each of the three candidates, conduct more interviews, make employer site visits and have public meetings on April 18th, 23rd and 24th. The board expects to make a decision within a month.

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The problem with most school boards and how they select and ultimately hire a superintendent is that most of the members are not experts at what they are doing. They think they are but they are not. They only admit that they aren't when they are caught having made a mistake. In this case I think the Canutillo Board is once again asking for trouble. The other 2 candidates look safer than Steinhauser's. Why they lumped him with them is cause for concern.

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