Katy Superintendent Denies Reports He Is One Of Three Finalists For HISD Job

July 17, 2009

For the second time in less than a month, Katy ISD Superintendent Alton Frailey has denied reports he is in the running to be the next superintendent of the Houston Independent School District.


A source close to the Katy school district said Frailey recent told several of his top administrators that he was one of the three remaining finalists for the HISD job.




Through district spokesman Steven Stanford, however, Frailey said he is neither a candidate nor finalist to be the next leader of the state’s largest school district.


Responding to an inquiry from InstantNewsKaty, Stanford said it was not surprising Frailey’s name would be among those mentioned.


“It is quite understandable that such a rumor is circulating in the community due to Mr. Frailey’s qualifications and ability to lead a district such as HISD. However, Mr. Frailey is committed to Katy ISD and the Katy community and is not a candidate or finalist for the HISD superintendent position,” Stanford said.


This is the second time in less than a month that Frailey denied being in the running for the HISD post. In late June, several Katy ISD insiders told InstantNewsKaty that Frailey was a candidate to succeed outgoing Houston ISD Superintendent Abelardo Saavedra.


At that time, Frailey also said he was not a candidate.


Frailey took the Katy ISD superintendent’s job just over two years ago following the retirement of long-time superintendent Leonard Merrell.


Before coming to Katy, Frailey was superintendent in another predominantly suburban district, DeSoto ISD near Dallas. His tenure there ran just over two years, from February 2005 until he was hired by Katy in May of 2007.


Prior to DeSoto, he was superintendent of schools for the Cincinnati Public Schools in Cincinnati, Ohio. His tenure there was also just over two years.


Names of candidates under consideration by Houston ISD have been shrouded in secrecy, giving rise a number of rumors about who the next superintendent might be.


The Houston school district engaged the firm of Heidrick & Struggles, an international executive search firm, to identify potential candidates. The search effort almost immediately triggered controversy when the company announced it would not reveal the names of those under consideration.


Prior to engaging Heidrick & Struggles, HISD Board President Lawrence Marshall had promised the search for a new superintendent would be a “transparent” process. Marshall was forced to do an abrupt about-face when the search firm insisted on keeping candidates’ names confidential, claiming revealing the names of those interested would potentially compromise the search effort and possibly drive away top-shelf candidates.


On the HISD website, Marshall outlined the search effort only in broad terms.


“The superintendent profile and announcement for position opening has been completed and is listed (on the website). As of June 18, 2009, 112 sources and potential candidates have been contacted, including 31 superintendents of public school systems, 9 deans of education, and 14 other university people; 11 individuals from for-profit organizations; 7 officials from state and federal education offices; and 40 from foundations, associations, and other education groups” Marshall reported.


Of that number, he noted, 19 have expressed interest “or are taking the time to consider the opportunity seriously.”


“In the next week, Heidrick & Struggles will be talking in greater depth with those who are definitely interested and will be more closely assessing their qualifications and how quickly they could be available. The firm is continuing to reach out to other superintendents as well as representatives of national groups focused on superintendents and/or urban education,” Marshall said on the website. “A number of these sources have extensive first-hand knowledge of sitting and former superintendents. Heidrick & Struggles’ search for non-traditional candidates includes education-focused sources, but also people in national, state, and local civic and business organizations who have taken active interest in K–12 education. The firm has received several nominations from board members and others and are following up with the suggested candidates to explore their interest and qualifications.”


In his message on the website, Marshall promised to keep the public informed of the search progress through website updates. That message has been unchanged for more than a month.


InstantNewsWestu Staff

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