Criticism of NISD Board and Superintendent From State

by Donna McCollum

There was strong criticism Friday for Nacogdoches School Board members and NISD superintendent, Dr. Tony Riehl. It comes in a report from the Texas Education Agency as part of an investigation.

In that preliminary report, obtained by the East Texas News, the agency says some board members have overstepped their authority. The report concludes that their tendency to do so is strongly aggravated by a lack of cooperation and lack of communication by the superintendent.

The investigative team found nine violations of governance by some board members. The report cites some board members for interfering with district management, taking action without board authorization, and requesting excessive information and reports from district administration.

The team concludes that there's a "very deep and contentious rift among the ‘Team Of Eight’ that threatens to immobilize the leadership in the district as a whole."

Another conclusion says, "Mutual trust and honest communication are almost non-existent among some members of the board and administration."

Among other things, the investigative team recommends that board members should conduct business directly with the superintendent and put aside personal differences at board meetings. The t.e.a. is also ordering the board and the superintendent to undergo special training on governance and team building.

Copies of all board meetings must be submitted to the t.e.a. for six months. The superintendent and board members have until December 23rd to respond. Afterwards, a final report will be issued.