EL PASO, Texas (KTSM) — Two of El Paso’s largest school districts continue without a permanent superintendent, but new developments have been made in their searches.
Last week, the El Paso Independent School District Board of Trustees voted 6-1 to go with a new search firm, Austin-based Walsh Gallegos Treviño Russo & Kyle P.C., after cutting ties with their original hire.
As KTSM previously reported, board members voted to terminate the contract with the Texas Association of School Boards Executive Search Services after members were notified of a possible “conflict of interest.” Board members said they were told one of the firm’s employee’s relatives was interested in applying for the position.
District 3 Trustee Josh Acevedo was the only member to vote against going with another search firm during the special meeting on September 2.
“I expressed hesitancy in using a search firm because I feel the firms have not yielded good results,” Acevedo said.
He said he was not satisfied with Walsh Gallegos’ response to his questions about diversity and inclusivity in the search. However, he said he was happy with one aspect of the new firm’s presentation.
“They do have one stronghold that I believe, which is the contract,” Acevedo said.
The search firm told trustees they would be included in every aspect and everything would be “entirely driven by the board.” Acevedo said in the past, previous superintendent contracts kept their hands tied and did not benefit the community and taxpayers compared to the superintendents.
“I want to make sure we get a contract that benefits the taxpayer and not the other way around, if this firm is going to send the contract to the finalist and say this is what they are proposing, what do you think, then I think that’s their stronghold,” Acevedo said.
Norma De La Rosa, president of the El Paso Teachers Association, said the union wants to see the firm incorporate community input in the search.
“It’s important for them to hear from the community themselves, what is it you’re looking for and what community do we want,” De La Rosa said.
The Socorro Independent School District said it has solicited proposals from executive search firms to aid in the process. Five submittals were received. The Board will hear presentations from each firm in a special meeting Sept. 29. The timeline for completing the process will be established together with the selected firm.