What’s going on in Desoto? Last night, the Desoto ISD school board voted to remove its Superintendent Dr. David Harris effective immediately. The public knows no more now than it did last night as to exactly why. When asked about the vote, school board President Carl Sherman told WFAA they “can’t discuss it at this time”.
What we can discuss however is the downward spiral of the DISD leadership. It’s been wracked with wacky developments over the last few months. In our area, our major school districts seem to be in competition judging to see which can be more inept. Dallas is never not in an uproar about its leadership. Mike Miles was a disaster and the district was doomed before he even relocated. Michael Hinojosa returned to Dallas ISD leadership in 2015 after jumping ship to lead the Cobb County School District. Not to be outdone, the Fort Worth ISD has made a spectacle of its school board leadership dating back to before the turn of the century. Thomas Tocco and his successor Melody Johson buried the district in a somewhat scandal ridden state. Superintendent and FWISD product Walter Dansby even had a difficult tenure and resigned before the end of his tenure, bringing all hope of positivity on the board to a certain demise.
From the outside looking in, Desoto was different. Just a few years ago, it was designated as one of the landings for new black wealth, a designation residents bore proudly. Some even began calling Desoto the new Black Wall Street.
As if things couldn’t get any better, high school sports rose to near prominence with close calls with state championships. Then the big wins came and suddenly their boys and girls sports were recognized as powerhouses and forces to be reckoned with on the state and even national level.
When most people think of growing affluent communities in North Texas, Frisco, Flower Mound and Southlake come to mind; DeSoto should also come to mind. The southern Dallas County community has grown from 15,000 residents in the 1980s to more than 50,000 people who now call the city home.
Then…coach Todd Peterman resigned, and seems to taking with him all the sensibility that has graced this community and the children the school system serves. Yes, this debacle all seems to be the fallout from a disagreement about football and the board’s choice of the next football coach.
Of course, details are scarce and parents are already voicing their displeasure with the board’s lack of transparency . Once details are finally made public, we can end speculation and go forward. Last night’s meeting exclusive of public input and to a larger extent-public concern is on par with the way the school board handles its tough issues. When the school board convened with the issue of Peterman’s job on the line, there was a last minute scramble to garner support for the winning coach at the meeting. The coach’s job was spared at last April’s meeting and the issue seemed to go away until Peterman announced his resignation last month.
Our children are society’s greatest asset. Poor leadership is our greatest liability. For the sake of the children, let’s hope that the school board can rectify their missteps and regain a level of poise that can support its astounding academic achievements. As details are made available, we will update this developing story.