The Texas Education Agency introduces monitor to EPISD

The Texas Education Agency introduces monitor to EPISD

EL PASO, Texas - The Texas Education Agency introduced monitor, Dr. Judy Castleberry to the El Paso Independent School District during Tuesday's school board meeting.

"It's the anger and the passion about fixing the system that's broken, in regards to its students, that prompted me to take the job," said Castleberry.

After years of allegations of grade manipulation and cheating under former EPISD superintendent-turned-felon Doctor Lorenzo Garcia the TEA stepped in and appointed Castleberry to oversee the district.

Castleberry said she'd recently been a TEA-assigned monitor for the Dallas Independent School District for three-and-a-half years.

She's also worked in several other instructional leadership roles across Texas. Despite her years of experience, Castleberry admitted her new role at EPISD is "a daunting task."

Castleberry will be paid $75 an hour to oversee district operations, testing, and test security, as well as training.

"(Castleberry) has the power to make recommendations and those recommendations will be put in a monthly report," said TEA Director of Governance, Ron Rowell.

Castleberry will be required to compile all of her findings and submit them to the TEA for review at the end of each month. According to Rowell, once the TEA finishes vetting the review, it will be made available to the EPISD superintendent, along with any recommendations.

If the district doesn't take heed of the recommendations, Rowell said, the TEA can elevate the status of the monitor to a conservator.

"If it goes to conservator status then, by law, (the conservator) can direct action to be taken," said Rowell.

"(The monitor) is coming in to help, to honestly and unbiasedly look at what we have done," said EPISD School Board Vice President David Dodge.

"I don't think I'll be in town every week," said Castleberry. "(I'll), at least, attend one board meeting a month, or i'll be at home watching the stream when I don't attend that second board meeting, but I'll have daily in contact with people."

Castleberry will be in contact with board members like Dodge, who said, he doesn't imagine she'll be casting a skeptical eye on the board, but rather, "a very experienced eye."

"I don't see her tonight as skeptical. She's open and eager to look and provide and give any assistance that she can," said Dodge.

Rowell expects to have Castleberry's first report by the end of September, that will also include the week of August 23-31.

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