Another North Texas school superintendent is stepping down, adding to a growing list of shake-ups among school district administrations.
On Friday, McKinney Independent School District Superintendent Rick McDaniel announced he is retiring after nearly eight years in the position.
“It is one of the most difficult decisions I’ve ever made,” McDaniel wrote in his retirement announcement. “Many people ask the question, ‘When will you know that it’s time to retire?’ It’s my belief that there is no magic sign or perfect time. You just know.”
McDaniel gave no departure date but said he will continue in the role to “assist with the new leadership transition.”
McKinney residents like Mike Giles say McDaniel’s tenure as superintendent started with great promise when the district promoted the popular former high school principal.
“Parents and citizens liked him and supported him,” Giles, a longtime conservative activist who leads Collin County Patriots, told Texas Scorecard. “I did also.”
By the end of his career, however, he had presided over the building of one of the most expensive high school football stadiums in the country, costing taxpayers more than $125 million over the lifetime of the bonds. This was money that could have been used to advance educational accomplishment.
Giles said McDaniel also oversaw the introduction of controversial curricula and ideologies into the local schools.
For months, McDaniel and a majority of McKinney ISD school board members have been under fire from parents in the district for failing to remove sexually explicit and age-inappropriate books in the schools’ libraries.
In addition, McKinney ISD’s accountability rating fell from an A to a B for the 2021-22 school year.
Across all grades and subjects, 62 percent of students performed at or above grade level on the latest standardized tests, higher than the statewide average of 48 percent but below many parents’ expectations. Less than half of fourth-grade students (47 percent) meet or exceed grade level in reading and math. Student enrollment in the district is about 23,000 students.
His contract may be terminated at any time on terms “mutually agreed upon” by the superintendent and school board.
At least a dozen districts are searching for new superintendents, according to a list maintained by TexasISD.com.
“It is important for MISD’s new superintendent to represent the majority of the citizens in the district and return to strong classical educational principles,” Giles said. “This will help stem the outflow of students to alternative educational systems, which has resulted in a significant student (and financial) loss over the last few years, along with a lower reputation for the schools.”
“We look forward to working with the district and the board to do this,” he added.
A special board of trustees meeting to discuss the superintendent search process is scheduled for Tuesday, December 6, at 6 p.m.