Uvalde CISD superintendent supporters show up in droves at school board meeting over retirement

Walsh Gallegos was approved by the board to search for a new superintendent.

As the Uvalde CISD school board met to accept superintendent Hal Harrell's retirement, families of Robb victims felt heartbroken their community never showed this kind of support for them.

UVALDE – As the Uvalde CISD school board met to accept superintendent Hal Harrell’s retirement, families of Robb victim’s felt heartbroken their community never showed this kind of support for them.

The Benson Board room can only hold 90 people total and far more showed up on Monday night, many more than we have seen ever show up. It’s a fact that families of the victims say ripped at their wounds.

“Just to show that we love him and that we support him,” Nicole Ogburn, a teacher with UCISD, said speaking of superintendent Dr. Hal Harrell.

”I don’t know any other outlet that they had that was that true and honest and just a good man who truly wanted to do the right thing,” Tiffany Massey, another teacher added on.

Tiffany and Nicole are both teachers with Uvalde CISD, they taught 4th grade at Robb and were there on May 24th.

Monday they were two in a crowd showing support for Dr. Harrell as the school board accepted his retirement.

”Change protocol; I think we need to change laws. We need to quit pointing fingers and blame, and we need to start moving on and just fixing the laws and protocols,” Ogburn said.

Meanwhile, families of the victims and their supporters quietly filed inside the small boardroom as they have done for four and a half months.

“Twenty-one murdered teachers and students wasn’t enough for outrage to outrage our Uvalde strong community. But your retirement is. You’re very blessed,” Berlinda Arreola, Amerie Jo’s grandma said.

Kimberly Rubio tearfully spoke about how Harrell is the one who handed her her diploma and puts students first, reminding everyone the families never asked that he resign.

She spoke about the hurt caused by the community directing hatred towards grieving families over a decision Harrell stated he made himself.

“How dare you decide now when a job is at stake to come together, but you stay home as we, the families, have been demanding transparency and accountability. How dare you attack those of us who lost our children in the worst way possible,” Rubio said.

Kimberly and Felix walked out, they were met outside by what appeared to be pushback from supporters of Harrell.

Some at tonight’s meeting put the responsibility on Harrell to reunite Uvalde.

“Dr. Harrell, it’ll take us a long way in bringing this community back together,” Diana Olvedo-Karau, a supporter of the families, said.

The board voted unanimously to approve Walsh Gallegos to begin the search for a replacement superintendent.

In a statement on Facebook posted by Dr. Harrell’s wife in his words, he wrote he’ll remain in the position through the end of the year until a new superintendent is named.

Families of the victims reiterated they never wanted Harrell to retire in the first place.

About the Authors:

Leigh Waldman is a news reporter at KSAT 12. She joined the station in 2021. Leigh comes to San Antonio from the Midwest after spending time at a station in Omaha, NE. After two winters there, she knew it was time to come home to Texas. When Leigh is not at work, she enjoys eating, playing with her dogs and spending time with family.

Joe Arredondo is a photojournalist at KSAT 12.