The Harris County Board of Education is considering only one candidate to be its next superintendent.
That’s what board chairman Shane Lipp told the Ledger-Enquirer in response to questions about why the board has been allowing interim superintendent Roger Couch to recommend — and why the board has been approving — the hiring of three new assistant superintendents and two new principals since superintendent Jimmy Martin resigned amid a dispute with the board last month.
The Harris County Board of Education approved Couch’s recommendations to fill these positions:
▪ Harris County Carver Middle School principal Stacey Carlisle replaces the retiring Jeff Branham as assistant superintendent for human resources. No successor to Carlisle at HCCMS has been announced.
▪ Former Harris County High School science teacher and former HCSD instructional technology specialist Dave Dennie replaces the retired Debbie Korytoski as assistant superintendent for curriculum. Dennie spent the past year as an educational technologist for the Department of Defense Education Activity Southeast District.
▪ Former Mulberry Creek Elementary School principal and former HCCMS assistant principal Justin Finney replaces the retired Michael Ward as assistant superintendent for business services and technology. Since February, Finney has been the DoDEA Southeast District’s chief of staff.
The Ledger-Enquirer previously reported the promotion of two new principals in HCSD:
▪ Lindie Snyder from assistant principal to principal at Creekside Intermediate School, replacing Dan Lomax, who now is a grant writer for the school district.
▪ Beverly Weaver from interim principal and assistant principal at Mulberry Creek, replacing Finney.
Asked who will replace Carlisle as HCCMS principal and why the board isn’t letting the future superintendent recommend the assistant superintendents, Lipp told the Ledger-Enquirer in an email Wednesday, “As to Mrs. Carlisle’s replacement, Mr. Couch is in the process of selecting a candidate to recommend for that position, and the board has confidence in his making appointments in an interim capacity. In fact, as to the remaining questions, the board named Mr. Couch as the sole candidate under consideration for the position of superintendent at the meeting on June 14.”
Lipp told the Ledger-Enquirer in an email Thursday afternoon the board would conduct a called that evening at 6:30 and the superintendent’s position is among the items to be discussed. Asked whether he expects the board to vote during that meeting on hiring Couch as the next superintendent, Lipp didn’t reply before deadline. He also didn’t answer why Couch is the sole candidate being considered and how many other candidates have applied.
The Ledger-Enquirer also didn’t reach Couch for comment before deadline. Couch, who was the high school’s principal from July 2001 until retiring in December 2015, said in an HCSD news release, “As we’ve stated with our other recent hires, our goal with this new team of strong leaders — who know, understand and love Harris County and its students — is to provide our students with the best education we can provide.”
Amid a dispute with the board that both sides have declined to specify, Martin resigned May 10 as superintendent, effective immediately. The Ledger-Enquirer reported two weeks ago that, according to documents obtained via the Georgia Open Records Act, the board agreed to pay Martin $173,893.75 to not be superintendent for 15 months and to relinquish the final year of his contract, which was extended in May 2017 to run through June 30, 2020.
Carlisle is a 28-year educator. She first taught for seven years at Loyd Elementary School on Fort Benning. Then she joined HCSD, teaching for three years at Pine Ridge Elementary School and later serving as a teacher and assistant principal for five years at New Mountain Hill Elementary School. She was assistant principal at HCCMS for two years before serving as principal there for 11 years.
Carlisle earned a bachelor’s degree in education from Columbus College (now called Columbus State University) and a master’s degree in education and a specialist’s degree in educational leadership from Troy State University (now called Troy University).
“It is a great honor to serve at the district level,” Carlisle said in the school district’s news releases. “I look forward to recruiting, developing and retaining the best teachers, leaders and staff to continue a tradition of excellence for Harris County schools.”
Dennie has worked for 17 years in education and technology, including 12 years in HCSD. He taught science for seven years at the high school, then served the district as an instructional technology specialist for five years. He has worked for the DoDEA since July 2017.
Dennie earned a bachelor’s degree in chemistry from Ithaca College, master’s and specialist degrees in secondary science education from CSU and a doctorate in curriculum and educational leadership from CSU.
“This assistant superintendent position is a great career opportunity,” Dennie said in the news release. “I look forward to coming back to Harris County to serve the school district.”
Finney worked in HCSD for 10 years and served in the U.S. Army Special Operations as a member of the 75th Ranger Regiment. He continues to teach part time at CSU.
Finney earned his master’s and specialist degrees in social science education and educational leadership, as well as his doctorate in curriculum and educational leadership, from CSU.