TEA reviewing two complaints filed against Casis Elementary principal currently on leave

Investigations

AUSTIN (KXAN) — UPDATE: KXAN received word Wednesday afternoon just after 4 p.m. that Casis Elementary School parents got a letter from Austin ISD stating Principal Samuel Tinnon would be returning to campus Thursday.

The Texas Education Agency said it recently received two complaints regarding the principal of Casis Elementary School in west Austin, who was placed on leave by the Austin ISD due to an “administrative matter.”

A media relations spokesperson with TEA said both complaints related to Samuel Tinnon, which were sent to the agency on Oct. 14 and Oct. 19, are currently under ‘jurisdictional review’ to identify next steps. That means the complaint management team is working to identify whether or not the claims have any merit, and which department in the agency should take a closer look, if necessary.

A short letter sent to parents late Friday afternoon on Oct. 23 by the Austin Independent School District said Tinnon was placed on leave Friday, but did not include additional information.

Samuel Tinnon Casis ES principal 102720
Casis Elementary principal Samuel Tinnon, May 2020 (Courtesy: Austin ISD)

“Your child’s education, health and well-being remain at the forefront of our work,” wrote Gilbert Hicks, Associate Superintendent for Elementary Schools. “Because this is an administrative matter, we cannot offer further details at this time.”

AISD told KXAN it could not comment on the administrative personnel matter.

Parents and teachers are coming to Tinnon’s defense on Facebook, calling him a kind, caring and committed campus leader. He was a 2020 finalist for ‘AISD principal of the year‘ and has been the principal of Casis since July of 2013, according to AISD.

Rebecca Phillips, from the associate superintendent’s office, is serving as campus principal in the interim.

Phillips introduced herself to Casis families during two quick Zoom calls this week.

“We are Casis strong,” Phillips told parents on the call Wednesday. “We are still learning and doing fantastic things.”

A longer administrative chat between parents and Phillips is scheduled for Friday, Oct. 30 at 10 a.m. The campus is asking parents to submit questions through a Google doc, and said Phillips will try to answer as many as possible.

If you have any additional information to share, email KXAN Investigator Erin Cargile at erin.cargile@kxan.com.

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