Even though a Texas school district has formally announced her as the lone finalist for its top position, Douglas County School District Superintendent Elizabeth Fagen has not yet officially resigned. She said June 9 that she expects to do that next week, following a vote by the Humble school board finalizing her selection.
Fagen was named the lone finalist for the superintendent position in Humble on May 24 Texas law requires a 21-day waiting period between when a lone finalist is named and a school board's final approval. That vote is scheduled for June 14.
"Should that vote be positive," Fagen said at a special board meeting June 9, "then I would be submitting my resignation to Douglas County School District the next morning.”
The resignation would be effective the first week of July.
Doulgas County Assistant Superintendent Steve Cook, who oversees secondary education, will serve as acting superintendent until an interim is chosen. A permanent successor will likely not be selected until after the new school year has started. The board intends to conduct a national search.
At the June 9 special meeting, the board voted 7-0 to waive a provision in state law that requires the superintendent to give 30 days notice before leaving the position.
"What this would do would be to allow Dr. Fagen to leave at the end of June," school district attorney Rob Ross said.
Fagen's six-year tenure in Douglas County has been marked by controversy, particularly over reform measures such as pay-for-performance for teachers and a new evaluation system. Since she was announced as a finalist, controversy also has followed her to Texas.
Parents and teachers have held protests against her appointment. A change.org petition protesting her hiring had received more than 2,200 signatures online as of June 10. Parents and community members in Douglas County also have posted dozens of anti-Fagen comments on the Humble school district's Facebook page.
"She is as motivated to submit her official resignation, as we are to accept it. I do not foresee a scenario that would result in her remaining the superintendent of Douglas County," Douglas County Board of Education member David Ray said. "There has been no discussion about what our response will be should the Humble School District not offer Dr. Fagen a contract."
Douglas County Board of Education President Meghann Silverthorn said until Fagen submits her resignation, she remains under contract.
"If the HISD board does not approve Dr. Fagen's employment offer in Texas, then her contract will remain in effect in DCSD," Silverthorn said. "She has submitted no letter of resignation here. As a board, we would discuss with Dr. Fagen the next steps. We would treat it as a personnel matter as with any other district employee."
Board member Jim Geddes thanked Fagen for her time in the district.
"I want to thank Elizabeth Fagen for all of the great things she has done for this district and assembling such a fine administrative staff and really, truly, doing a lot to move education forward," Geddes said.
Fagen said she has been working with Cook, Assistant Superintendent Ted Knight and Board of Education President Meghann Silverthorn on a transition plan.
"I think we have a good transition plan in place ...," Fagen said, "so the Douglas County School district can move forward in the best way it can for its staff and students."
Fagen thanked teachers and staff who have worked with her.
“I feel like we have done a lot of incredible things and created something great," she said.“ I have enjoyed every opportunity here and I look forward to what's next and the opportunity ahead.”