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Hitchcock superintendent resigning - The Galveston County Daily News : Local News

November 27, 2014

Hitchcock superintendent resigning

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Posted: Thursday, July 17, 2014 8:17 pm

HITCHCOCK — Just two years after she was hired as superintendent, Barbara Derrick apparently is set to resign.

Hitchcock school district trustees are scheduled to meet Monday to discuss Derrick’s resignation and a proposed voluntary separation agreement. The agenda also calls for the naming of an interim superintendent.

Neither Derrick nor school board President Monica Cantrell could be reached for comment Thursday. 

The school district referred The Daily News to its attorney Stephen Dubner, who said he could not comment, citing that the issue is a personnel matter.

“I expect that there will be some sort of joint statement after Monday’s meeting,” Dubner said. “It is up to the (school) board to make the final decision, and nothing has happened yet except that (Derrick’s resignation) is being presented to the board.”

Derrick, who grew up in Hitchcock and is a 1979 graduate of Hitchcock High School, once called the superintendent’s job in her hometown her dream job.

”I grew up on Second Street just down the way from the (school) administration building,” she said after she was named the lone finalist in May 2012. 

“Ever since ninth grade, that’s the job I wanted.”

So eager was she to get to work that she started on the job that June before she completed her contract.

She was in charge when the district opened its new high school, moved its administration offices and spearheaded new programs, including a partnership with College of the Mainland to increase the number of college-bound students.

But some rough waters marked her tenure.

The district has been under a state-ordered monitor since Derrick’s arrival.

In January, the Texas Education Agency placed three of the district’s campuses on the academically unacceptable list.

Last fall, soon after classes started, Derrick was forced to take more than a month off work because of exhaustion and anemia. She returned to a limited schedule in October and resumed a full work schedule in late November.

In that time, she faced grievances filed by four Hitchcock district employees who accused Derrick of locking them in her office during a meeting and berating them. The school board reviewed the complaints and found they had no merit.

In May, the school board elections saw former school board President Dianne James ousted. James was Derrick’s closest ally on the board.

In June, Derrick’s pick for the new high school principal was unanimously rejected by the school board. That prompted Cantrell to suggest that Derrick act as high school principal and superintendent until the right person could be hired for the job.

That was the topic of discussion during a special school board meeting July 8. The meeting was called while Derrick was on vacation, and she told The Daily News she was unaware what was to be discussed.

Most of that meeting was behind closed doors. Aside from Cantrell’s explanation about the high school principal’s position, there was no indication what trustees were talking about behind closed doors.

Using generic language on the agenda posting, the school board could have been talking about any number of employees, including Derrick. The Daily News contends the agenda posting did not meet the state’s requirements.

As it turns out, it appears Derrick’s tenure with the district was also up for discussion.

At one point Derrick came out and told staff members they could go home because the trustees were planning to come out and adjourn the meeting.

Derrick left before trustees wrapped up their private discussions. It would be about 30 minutes later before trustees emerged from the closed-door session.

When asked what was discussed, Cantrell referred The Daily News to the district’s attorney.

Daily News reporter Christopher Smith Gonzalez contributed to this report.



WHAT: Hitchcock school board meeting

WHEN: 6:30 p.m. Monday

WHERE: School board meeting room, 804 North Railroad in Hitchcock