UVALDE, Texas – Uvalde CISD has outlined its plans for finding a new, permanent superintendent in wake of Superintendent Hal Harrell’s retirement.
Last week, Uvalde CISD board members met behind closed doors to decide on an interim superintendent. After more than two hours passed, the board selected Gary Patterson.
Patterson will start pending Harrell’s retirement as the interim while the board-approved law firm Walsh Gallegos works to find someone to fill the position permanently.
He’s served as superintendent for East Central ISD in San Antonio for 14 years before retiring in 2014. According to Lake Dallas ISD, Patterson was also interim superintendent for several other school districts in the state.
Although Patterson is ready to temporarily fill Harrell’s seat, the district announced what its hiring process will look like for selecting its next chief.
The projected timeline
- Uvalde CISD will begin accepting applications for the superintendent position beginning Wednesday, Nov. 16.
- From Nov. 16-Dec. 16, board members will gather community input through an online survey and will receive staff input through employee focus groups.
- The last day to submit an application is at 5 p.m. on Wednesday, Dec. 28.
- On Tuesday, Jan. 3, the board will review applications, choose which candidates to interview, discuss superintendent contract terms, finalize interview questions and discuss background check information.
- Uvalde CISD will interview their selected candidates for 60 minutes beginning at 5 p.m., Monday, Jan. 9 through Wednesday, Jan. 11. Once the interviews have all concluded, the district will choose the top two or three candidates for second interviews.
- On Monday, Jan. 16, at 2 p.m., the district will conduct follow-up interviews.
- Uvalde CISD can vote to hire the new superintendent on Monday, Feb. 6, which is at least 21 days after selecting their top candidate. However, the vote can take place at a later date if the board chooses.
- Once a decision is made, it’ll be up to Uvalde CISD and the candidate to select a start date for the superintendent.
- You can read more on the process below:
What happened before Harrell’s retirement announcement?
Uvalde CISD fired a new officer who was formerly a Texas DPS trooper under investigation for her response to the shooting at Robb Elementary School just four days before Harrell’s retirement announcement.
Crimson Elizondo was under investigation for “actions inconsistent with training and Department requirements,” and mainly was stationed outside of the school during the shooting response.
She was also heard on body camera footage saying, “If my son had been in there, I would not have been outside. I promise you that.”
After Harrell announced he would retire on Oct. 7, Uvalde CISD also suspended its entire police department “for a period of time” pending further investigation into the shooting response.
Community members are divided on their support for Harrell after the mass shooting that claimed the lives of 19 students and two teachers. Many are still pressing for transparency.