Majority on School Board Get their Chance to Speak to Social Media Posts of Fox and Champagne

Back Row: Rebecca Fox, Member; Dawn Champagne, Member; George Scott, Member; Susan Gesoff, Member Front Row: Ashley Vann, Secretary; Courtney Doyle, President; Bill Lacy, Vice President

CITY OF KATY (Covering Katy News) – The Katy Independent School District Board of Trustees named acting superintendent Ken Gregorski the lone finalist for the job of superintendent on Monday night and the meeting was very contentious as those on the board who wanted a national search were scolded by other board members for their comments on social media in the days leading up to the meeting.

There will now be a waiting period of at least 21 days before a final vote will be taken by the board to confirm Gregorski as superintendent.

Board president Courtney Doyle, vice president Bill Lacy, secretary Ashley Vann and member George Scott all voted to approve Gregorski and did not back down from voicing their displeasure with board members Rebecca Fox, Dawn Champagne for their social media posts

“Only four of you made the decision to post the (superintendent) job,” Champagne claimed at Monday night’s meeting. “We didn’t know beforehand that the job had been posted,” she added.

That claim and other claims were shown to be inaccurate at Monday’s meeting.

“I did email the other three board members,” Doyle said.  She then proceeded to read her email.

“At no time did I get an email or a phone call from any of the board members asking what this was about, asking if I knew any other information.”

Doyle said Fox, Champagne, and Gesoff also remained silent when the job was posted.

“They did not contact me to question me as to why the job was posted, who posted the job, nothing! No correspondence from them whatsoever.”

Scott challenged claims that the board did not consider a national search. In August he proposed a specific set of guidelines for conducting a national search without using an outside search firm. Scott said the outside search firms often have numerous conflicts of interest that should be avoided, and that search consultants get between the applicants and the board in a way that’s not productive.

“It was effectively vetoed by Mrs. Fox and Mrs. Champagne, who have now taken to social media to tell some of the truth to some of the people and all of the truth to none of the people,” Scott said.

“It wasn’t that we vetoed it, it was that we never got to the point of talking about it in public,” Champaign said of Scott’s proposal for a national search.

Regardless of whether it was talked about publicly, Champagne’s statement was confirmation that Scott had presented a very detailed national search proposal and neither Champagne nor Fox helped move his proposal forward.

“At this time promoting from within is the only district-protecting path forward,” Scott said as he continued his criticism of Fox and Champagne. “Their conduct by my standards has been despicable and harmful to the school district.”

“I will not tit-for-tat and argue every false statement that was made, because our community deserves better than that,” Fox said. “I will say there have been false statements made about me and about others.”

Doyle called out Champagne for publicly exaggerating the amount of training she’d participated in since becoming a board member about seven months ago.

“You said at last week’s meeting that you attended multiple trainings on how to hire a superintendent. … Our trainings are public record, and you attended just one on superintendent contracts,” Doyle said.

Doyle also corrected Champagne for social media claims that acting superintendent Gregorski was not properly hired when he joined the district two years ago. She also disputed claims that there was no public input into the process. She said that two years ago more than 84,000 people were sent a survey asking for their input, and only a small percentage responded.

“A few things have changed in two years,” Fox said. “We’ve certainly changed a lot. A lot of new people have moved here who have never been asked, and in addition to the 2,900 replies that we got (two years ago) we did many, many small focus groups.”

Fox said she took to social media after her request for another survey was denied.

“I made the choice to ask my community, our community, about their feedback on social media. It was my only avenue. … We (the board) did not do our due diligence,” Fox said.

Scott disagreed with Fox’s claim that the board has not done its due diligence, noting that the board has had two years to see Gregorski’s work.

“Ken Gregorski is the right guy, at the right time, and he’s got an incredible team to lead,” Scott said.

“We did not ask to be in this position,” Doyle said. “Dr. Lance Hindt would still be our superintendent if not for his family being harassed and bullied. It is unfortunate, and we would not be looking for a new superintendent if those things had not taken place by people in this very community.”

“I think we are in a perfect position to keep this district on the path that it’s going with an internal candidate,” she added.

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