humble isd lobby

Just trust us they said.

The date was June 8, 2016. The place, the Humble ISD Administration building.

While most board of trustee meetings go largely ignored, this meeting was different. The boardroom was filled to standing room only, as was the lobby, which unlike the boardroom had few chairs and no air conditioning. The parents that were not early enough to make it into the board room stood and sweltered in the humid Houston heat without even the benefit of being able to hear what was said in the boardroom as the speaker was not mic’d and the close caption TV’s that the lobby was equipped with for times such as this were dark.

The parents and community members came to express their concern over the seemingly inexplicable selection of a lone finalist for superintendent. They cared about their kids, their schools, and their community, and so they waited for a chance to speak and be heard.

One hour went by.

Two hours passed, a few parents left with children that were fretting from the heat.

However, when the board finally finished its now infamous filibuster after three hours, the lobby was still full of parents who wanted to be heard and were looking for answers.

Did we get them? No. While the 21 day waiting period after the selection of a lone finalist for superintendent is designed for just this very thing, community feedback, the board members were closed to all input and were set on their decision. The “community hearing” was simply for show.

However, in their defense of their decision, the board made some very specific statements in an attempt to allay our concerns.

They said, “We aren’t Douglas County. Just trust us,”

When concerns were expressed that she would bring staff along with her that had been so destructive to the once stand-out district of Douglas County, we were told that there weren’t any openings and she would not be bringing people from Douglas County.

“She will do what we tell her to do,” they insisted, “You are just going to have to trust us.”

(More on the selection: #1, #2, #3, #4, #5, #6, #7, #8, #9, #10, #11, #12, #13, #14, #15, #16, #17 )

Trust is not a thing that can be taken for granted. It must be proven and earned. One who trusts those whose actions do not line up with their words are foolhardy. Almost a year has passed from that day. What has been the outcome? Have the actions of the new superintendent and the board proven that they can be trusted?

Dr. Fagen began her appointment in July 2016.

In September 2016, she hired Dr. Ann Johnson as "Executive Director of Curriculum" to replace the previous Assistant Superintendent of Curriculum and Instruction, Dr. Robin Perez, who left Humble ISD in April before Dr Fagen was even hired. Dr. Johnson, who with a yearly salary of $153,000 is now the fourth highest paid employee in the district, has known Dr. Fagen since her days in Iowa and worked with her in Douglas County, first as a consultant and then as an employee. As with her contract in Douglas County, she still works for Humble ISD remotely from Iowa. The person in charge of setting the course for every grade and campus in our district does not even live in the state of Texas, let alone our district. However, we did not get just Dr Johnson from Douglas County, Fagen brought Dana Johnson-Strothers from Douglas County as well.

But yet, we are told to "just trust" them.

In October 2016, she brought in Ken Kay as a consultant to the tune of $24,999 to develop "A Portrait of a Graduate." Kay has been brought along by Fagen from one district to the next.

. . . Just trust them.

The year was not out before yet another Douglas County refugee found safe haven at Humble ISD. In November, Rob Ross was hired as legal counsel for the district leaving the embattled district of Douglas County behind. Whatever did Humble ISD do for candidates before our Colorado connection? (DougCo lawsuits: vouchers, board intimidation of a student, Supreme Court case, abuse of Fair Campaign practices, district ignoring sexual impropriety between a teacher and an 8th grader, on lack of services for students with disabilities (the family won) )

The board told us she would not be bringing staff from Douglas County. She did. We cannot trust them.

The establishment of the Douglas County trinity of top administration is not the only betrayal of the past year. The most recent were by the board members themselves.

On February 6th, 2017, Memorial Herman announced that Heath Rushing, a current Humble ISD trustee, had been made CEO of the Katy and Cypress hospitals. Speculation immediately began about what would happen with Rushing's seat, which does not expire until 2019. According to our counsel, Rob Ross, if Rushing had announced his resignation to the HISD board at that time, his seat could have been on the May 6th ballot as well. Rushing said nothing about his school board seat; however, he did resign from his position on the executive board of directors for the Lake Houston Area Chamber of Commerce.

The filing deadline for the HISD board of trustee election came and went on February 17th. Shortly afterward, it was discovered that Rushing not only put his Kingwood home on the market, but sold it the same day, February 21st, just four days after the filing deadline. The community wanted an answer, Rushing said nothing. The March board meeting came. Rushing had no comment.

It was not until the April board meeting, three days before his house closed in Kingwood, that Rushing announced his resignation by letter to be effective May 9th, just days after the May 6th election. His final words to his fellow board members? "Stay the course and ignore the noise." (Stories regarding Rushing's resignation: #1#2#3#4#5 )

We are the noise.

Do you trust them?

Whose interest did Rushing have in mind when he delayed his resignation, depriving voters of the ability to elect a replacement in the regularly scheduled election? It certainly was not the community and the voters. Could it be that he was looking out for his fellow board members? 

Last Friday, April 28th, a campaign finance report was filed for a newly formed PAC titled "Humble ISD Supporters." You may have seen some of the flyers, received one of the mailings, or picked up a ring by a robocaller promoting the incumbents. Who is behind this campaign? While there are a few community members who have donated, the bulk of the funding has come from sitting board members, Keith Lapeze, who donated $4,000, and Heath Rushing, who donated $3,000, in support of their fellow board members, Sitton, Cunningham, and Conrad, who are up for reelection.

Does this answer the question who Rushing was looking out for?


Vote Now

There is one more day of early voting, Tuesday May 2nd, and then the election day, May 6th.

The incumbents have broken our trust. If we do not speak out now through our vote, from here on out the board will know that they do not have to listen to us.

June 8th, 2016, will be meaningless, just a blip, a minor annoyance.

Make Some Noise

Send a Message and Vote

This is who I voted for and I encourage you to do so as well. They all come from different backgrounds, each having their own unique perspective and will be an independent voice. The one thing they do have in common is that they will put the best interests of the children of our district first while providing transparency and open communication.

Only 300 votes separated the most contested position in 2015, in this election, every vote truly counts. Your playgroup, your sports team, your prayer group could make the difference in deciding this election.

Early Voting Locations

Registered voters who reside in the Humble ISD may vote early at any of these locations:

Final Election Day

Election Day ballots must be cast at voters’ assigned precincts. Election Day voting will occur at:

Precinct numbers are on voter registration cards, or you may visit to look up your precinct by address.