The Houston Board of Education has named Chief Academic Officer Grenita Lathan as interim superintendent.
Lathan will serve as the interim leader while the school board searches for a permanent replacement for Superintendent Richard Carranza, the district says in a news release.
Carranza announced earlier this month is leaving the district to become chancellor of New York City Schools, the largest public school system in the United States.
Houston, with about 215,000 students, is the seventh-largest public school district in the nation.
“I am grateful for the opportunity to help our schools achieve educational excellence,” Lathan says. “We are on the right path toward educational excellence in all of our schools, and I want to ensure all our students have quality educational opportunities that will prepare them for college or career. I’m fully prepared to lead the district in this season of swift transition.”
Lathan, a 26-year educator, joined the Houston district in 2015. She has served as chief academic officer since the 2016-2017 school year. She previously served as the chief school officer in the district's Office of School Support for the district’s north area and as the chief school officer over elementary transformation schools.
“Dr. Lathan has a track record of turning schools around,” School President Rhonda Skillern-Jones says. “We are fortunate to have someone of her caliber on our leadership team, and we hope this will be a seamless transition as we continue to move the district forward.”
Lathan previously served as superintendent of schools for Peoria (Ill.) Public Schools, which has about 14,000 students and 2,700 staff. She began her education career as a high school teacher in North Carolina and later served as both an assistant principal and principal in the state. She also worked in the San Diego Unified School District as an elementary school improvement officer and as an interim deputy superintendent.
She holds a bachelor’s degree in business education from North Carolina A&T State University, a master’s degree in business education from the University of North Carolina, and a doctoral degree from Southern Illinois University.
To find candidates for the superintendent's job, the school board plans to use the firm whose search resulted in Carranza’s hiring. Because Carranza left in less than two years, the new search will not cost the district