Douglas County

School board in Texas confirms Fagen as new superintendent

She will take the reins of the Humble Independent School District in July


Douglas County School District Superintendent Elizabeth Fagen is expected to turn in her resignation this week after a school district in Texas confirmed her as its new superintendent.

Fagen - whose six-year tenure in Douglas County has been marked by controversy as she worked to enact numerous reforms in the high-achieving district - recently said she planned to turn her resignation letter in on June 15 if events go as planned.

On June 14, Fagen was approved by a 6-0 vote of the Humble Independent School District's board. Humble will hold a series of town halls to introduce her to the community.

"It is our hope that through these town halls you will be able to see what we saw in Dr. Fagen throughout the hiring process and be as excited as we are about the future of Humble ISD," board member Keith Lapeze said.

Several parents in Humble, near Houston, protested Fagen's hiring during the public comment portion of the meeting. A petition with 1,900 signatures from within the Humble district was presented to the board.

Guy Sconzo, retiring superintendent, asked the community to give Fagen the same opportunity and fair chance they gave him when he came to Humble as an unknown commodity 15 years ago.

"I hope, I pray and I ask that you do the same for my successor," he said.

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.

"Should that vote be positive," Fagen said at a special board meeting in Douglas County on June 9, "then I would be submitting my resignation to Douglas County School District the next morning."

The resignation will be effective the first week of July.

Humble is a school district of 39,000 students. Douglas County is Colorado's third largest district with about 67,000 students.

Steve Cook, Douglas County School District assistant superintendent for 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 in August. 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.

During Fagen's term in Douglas County, controversial measures such as pay-for-performance for teachers and a new evaluation system, were enacted. In 2012, the school board severed its ties with the teachers' union.

Since she was announced as a finalist, controversy also has followed her to Texas.

Parents and teachers have held protests against her appointment. A 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," Douglas County Board of Education member David Ray said.

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."


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