5 Central Texas superintendents have resigned in two years, experts predict more to come

Investigations

AUSTIN (KXAN) — The Round Rock Independent School District board announced Superintendent Dr. Steve Flores’ plans to resign on Friday afternoon.

Flores hasn’t stepped down just yet—that will be effective Dec. 1—but he does join a list of growing school leaders to recently leave Central Texas districts.

In the last two years, at least five have had a change at the top: Austin, Dripping Springs, Manor, Del Valle and Leander.

Superintendent resignations 111320
Five Central Texas school superintendents who resigned in 2019 and 2020

While the reasons vary, the Texas Association of School Boards Division Director Phil Gore said it can often boil down to how well superintendents mesh with their elected trustees.

“Anytime you see a large amount of turnover in a school board, you’re going to see increased turnover in who the superintendent is,” said Gore.

New 2020 RRISD school board members 111320
Newly elected 2020 Round Rock ISD school board members

Gore said the recent election brought on one of largest turnovers of school board members in state history. Round Rock voters elected four new faces to the school board, which is where Gore lives. He said he has seen the tension between Flores and current trustees play out.

“There’s just a lot of very strong differences of opinion which creates challenges for any type of entity to make enough people happy to keep things moving forward,” said Gore.

Kevin Brown left his long-time post as a superintendent in the San Antonio area two years ago to lead the Texas Association of School Administrators.

“It’s a 24-hour, seven day a week job and it’s very gratifying because you really get to make a difference in peoples lives and in your communities lives,” said Brown. “But in this time it’s even much more challenging.”

Based on feedback from school administrators, Brown and Gore said the stress and pressure brought on by the changing political climate and the pandemic are causing superintendents and principals to consider leaving the profession altogether.

“I’ve spoken with two superintendents in the last couple of weeks that [say] that’s their situation; they’re just not going to subject themselves to that type of pressure,” said Gore.

Gore predicts in the next two to three months even more administrators across the state will say goodbye.

Here’s a look at the administrative changes the three largest Central Texas districts have experienced since Jan. 1, 2020:

AUSTIN ISD

  • Principals: 5 resignations, 2 retirements, 12 changed positions internally
  • Associate superintendents: 2 resignations

LEANDER ISD

  • Principals: 5 new appointments
  • Assistant superintendents: 2 changes

ROUND ROCK ISD

  • Principals: 3 have left

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