The often-controversial superintendent of the Fort Bend ISD will be retiring at the end of January, 2013, according to a statement issued by the president of that district’s board of trustees.
In a prepared statement, Board President Jim Rice said Superintendent Timothy Jenny will retire in January in a move that “will serve the board’s future plans for the district.”
Jenny has served as Fort Bend ISD’s superintendent since September of 2006.
Rice issued the statement after the school board approved an amendment to Jenny’s contract that will allow him to retire next January with a one-year contract buy-out. Jenny’s contract originally had him remaining at the district’s helm through at least 2016.
“Although he had no specific date for retirement in mind, after discussions with him, the board and Dr. Jenney were able to agree on a timeline that allows him to retire in January which serves the board’s future plans for the district,” Rice said in the statement.
For his part, Jenny said he was “looking forward to a break in the action” following a 39-year career in education. He also wished the district well.
While both the school board and Jenny called his departure a retirement, a number of district insiders said he was forced out and the negotiated separation followed several years of declining support for the superintendent among school board members.
“He was forced out, pure and simple. When he first got her, Jenny basically controlled the board. They just rubber-stamped whatever he wanted,” one high-ranking district official, who asked not to be identified, said. “With new faces on the board – faces that are a lot more responsive to the community – Jenny just couldn’t accept the style of leadership the current board wants. He’s just far too autocratic for that.”
Others, including a number of vocal parents, said Jenny was too isolated and out of touch with the community.
“It was always his way or the highway. He wouldn’t listen to parents, teachers or the community; he always thought he knew better,” parent Melissa Burke said. “If you disagreed with him, you were wrong. He was never open to what others had to say and surrounded himself with yes-men who told him how right he was. The district will better off with new leadership.”
As the news of Jenny’s retirement spread, those on the FBISD Concerns blog almost uniformly cheered the announcement.
“I hope the recruiting committee to replace him can find someone who respects teachers and parents. That alone would be a 1000% improvement,” Janet Scarborough Civitelli posted.
Fort Bend resident Kevin Tunstall also applauded the move.
“Over 5 years of hard work comes to fruition. How quickly can January get here?” Tunstall said.
Mary Margaret Perez praised the school board for its action.
“I am still shocked. My jar is still dropped. The School Board didn’t play games at all!!!!!” Perez posted on the blog. “Before the year begins and not even a full year to finish. Great job Board. I just c-a-n-n-o-t believe it. New Board found its spheres (balls).”
District resident Richard Lee was more succinct.
“Thank God and Greyhound he’s gone,” Lee said.
The district has not announced plans for selecting Jenny’s replacement.
The district includes much of Fort Bend County, including parts of the Katy area and Mission Bend subdivision just south of the Westpark Tollway.