Large crowd gathering for 4 p.m. EPISD board meeting that could decide fate of 8 administrators

4 principals, 4 assistant principals could lose their jobs

EL PASO, Texas - A large crowd is gathering at El Paso Independent School District headquarters for its 4 p.m. board meeting today.

The board of trustees will consider the proposed termination and/or non-renewal of employment contracts of four principals and four assistant principals at the meeting.

People are chanting, waving signs and wearing matching colors, all hoping to persuade the board one way or another.

Many people at the board meeting want to make the case that their particular principal should be allowed to stay. Others want to reinstate all eight up for termination. And still others believe these administrators are guilty of what the audit charges and want to clean house.

The principals, who have been put on administrative leave, are:

  • Principal Randall Wood, Burges High School.
  • Principal John Tanner, Austin High School.
  • Principal Kristine Ferret, El Paso High School.
  • Principal Luis C. Loya, Center for Career & Technology Education.

Other jobs on the line at the school board meeting:

  • Assistant principal, Austin High School
  • Assistant principal, Burges High School
  • Assistant principal, El Paso High School
  • Assistant principal, Jefferson High School

All eight of the jobs will be discussed behind closed doors. Any final action as a result of this discussion will be taken at the re?opening of this meeting,
later during the open session or at a subsequent meeting.

Interim Superintendent Vernon L. Butler has assigned administrators to serve as temporary principals at the affected campuses.

"I want to assure our students and parents that there is solid leadership on their campus and that the District is providing the necessary support to ensure continued student success," interim Superintendent Vernon L. Butler said in a news release.

Interim administrators assigned to work at the campuses with the current staff are:
• Austin High School – Nick Cobos
• Burges High School –  Craig Kehrwald
• El Paso High School – Steve Clay
• Center for Career & Technology Education –  Matthew Farley

Also on the agenda will be consultation with legal counsel concerning  Consultation with Legal Counsel Concerning Legal Issues Relating To:
1. Inquiries/Investigations by Outside Agencies
2. TEA Administrative Review and Submittal to the U.S. Department of Justice
Regarding Commissioner of Education Appointments of Conservator and
Board of Managers

El Paso Independent School District released an 86-page audit, with some redactions, today that looked into the school district's alleged cheating scandal.

Weaver and Tidwell, LLP, the auditor hired by the district to conduct the audit, investigated the alleged cheating scandal from Nov. 5, 2012 to Feb. 8, 2013. The conmpany provided periodical reports to the school board along the way.

The company conducted and documented at least 154 witnesses, including individuals from Central Office and at least nine campuses. Former employees also were interviewed.

EPISD Conservator Judy Castleberry declined to comment on the audit report's findings.

"I don't plan to speak about it publicly.  I believe it will speak for itself," Castleberry said.

Of more than one million emails downloaded from the district's current and former email systems, 98,000 emails were pulled from more than 60 current and ex-staff members' current and archived email data files.

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