Houston Independent School District
Grenita Lathan

Interim superintendent of Houston district is leaving for a job in Springfield, Mo.

March 9, 2021
Grenita Lathan has served as interim leader of the 209,000-student district for 3 years.

The interim superintendent of the Houston school district for the last three years is leaving Texas to become the top administrator in the Springfield (Mo.) district

The Houston Chronicle reports that Grenita Lathan plans to leave the district at the close of the 2020-21 school year,

Her tenure was marked by fallout from the pandemic, the constant threat of state intervention and battles with some school board members.

Lathan said she will begin work as superintendent of Springfield (Mo.) Public Schools on July 1.

Her departure is expected to coincide with the arrival of a permanent superintendent in June. Houston board members are in the early stages of searching for a superintendent, an effort delayed by a state order that halted an earlier search and lingering uncertainty about Texas Education Commissioner Mike Morath’s threats to replace all nine elected school board members.

Board members voted against naming Lathan as Houston’s long-term superintendent last November; six of the nine board members said they preferred to launch a national search.

Lathan became interim superintendent in March 2018 following the resignation of Richard Carranza, who left to take over New York City public schools. Lathan led the district through the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey and worked to reopen schools amid the Covid-19 pandemic.

Lathan’s leadership drew mixed reviews, which often split along racial and professional lines.

[FROM 2018: Board formally reinstates Houston's interim superintendent]

The acrimony came into the sharpest view in October 2018, when the board’s four Hispanic and one Asian-American members voted to replace her as interim superintendent. Board members quickly reversed the vote amid stinging public backlash.

Lathan joined the Houston district as chief school officer over elementary transition in 2015, following a five-year tenure as superintendent of Peoria (Ill.) District 150,

Springfield Public Schools serves about 23,500 students.

Springfield Board President Alina Lehnert says Lathan’s 30-year career “demonstrates a proven track record of enhancing public education with an unwavering commitment to all students and educators.”

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