Less than a month after the vice president of the Amarillo Independent School District school board resigned, a second trustee is now stepping down.

On May 31, Renee McCown resigned from the Amarillo ISD Board of Trustees, marking an end to her controversial seven-year tenure. McCown’s resignation opens the second ongoing search for a new school board trustee, as board members are also seeking a replacement for vice president John Ben Blanchard, who resigned from the board in May.

In her letter to newly elected board president Robin Malone, McCown said she chose to depart from the board to focus on “new volunteer interests” and spending time with her family. McCown also noted that her resignation will allow trustees to combine the search to fill both her and Blanchard’s seats.

McCown served on the board after first being appointed to an unexpired term in 2012. McCown was re-elected in 2017 along with Blanchard.

In early 2018, McCown came under fire for an alleged abuse of power, with one citizen filing a complaint against her with the Texas Education Agency. The complaint, however, was ultimately dismissed by the TEA.

Notably, during her time on the board, Amarillo ISD trustees sent two bond issues to the ballot—one in 2013 and one in 2017, both of which passed. McCown and Blanchard voted to send both elections to the ballot.

McCown’s resignation comes after voters recently turned over three of seven seats on the school board during the May 4 election, ousting incumbents Jim Austin and John Betancourt in the process.

According to the school board, a replacement process for Blanchard and McCown’s seats is expected to be announced soon.

Thomas Warren

Thomas Warren, III is the editor-in-chief of the Amarillo Pioneer newspaper in Amarillo, Texas.