HISD Superintendent To Step Down By Spring 2010
This morning at a news conference, Houston Independent School District Superintendent Abelardo Saavedra announced his intention to step down as superintendent and retire by spring of 2010.
“I have recently informed the school board of my intention to retire within the next year. I want to make sure that the board has adequate time to conduct a comprehensive national search for my successor,” said Saavedra. “Selecting a superintendent is the most important decision that a board makes. Making the right decision ensures that the progress that we have made as a district, as a community, will continue forward. I have full confidence the board will select an individual that will take this district to the next level of performance.”
Among his accomplishments since taking the helm of the school district in July 2004, Saavedra says he is most proud of HISD’s value-added growth model aimed at increasing student achievement and creating a college bound culture.
“My parents taught me to leave a place better than what it was when I arrived. I think I will have done that when I leave HISD,” said Saavedra. “With the support of the board and the dedication and hard work of our central and regional administrators and their staffs, the tenacity and brilliant work of our principals, and the unwavering dedication and extraordinary work that our teachers perform in their classrooms everyday, I am able to leave behind a school district that five years ago had nine Exemplary schools and today has 38, a district where being an Exemplary or Recognized school is the norm and not the exception, a district that beats the state by 10 percentage points in the percent of Exemplary/Recognized schools, a district that improved commended TAKS test performance in science by 87 percent, in math by 36 percent, and in reading and social studies by 35 percent over a period of just two years. During the same two years HISD’s growth in college readiness has surpassed the state, closing the gap between the district and the state to just five points in English and one point in math. We accomplished this by focusing on individual student academic growth instead of chasing accountability ratings and by doing so, the accountability ratings improved dramatically.”
Saavedra began his career in education 36 years ago, starting as a classroom teacher in 1972 in his hometown of Corpus Christi.
“My work is not done. I will work closely with the board and our community on important issues right up until the day I retire and my successor begins work,” said Saavedra. “My goals are to improve teacher recruiting and retention to attract and keep the most talented people, continue differentiated pay for highest performing teachers, dramatically improve communications and customer service, and continue the construction and renovation bond projects that will provide much-needed economic stimulus to our community.”