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Could Michael Hinojosa Be The Permanent Dallas Superintendent Again?

Bill Zeeble
Interim Dallas Supertindent Michael Hinojosa at a briefing for reporters in August, getting ready for the first day of school

Dallas school board members will discuss their superintendent search options this afternoon. One of those options could make interim superintendent Michael Hinojosa’s position permanent.  

Hinojosa’s been running the Dallas school district since June. It’s familiar territory for him; he was district superintendent from 2005 to 2011.

He left the job to lead a district in Georgia, but eventually returned to Dallas. When Hinojosa was named interim superintendent in June, he said his service in Dallas was up to the board.

“I’ll be as long as they need me, for as long as they want me,” he said. He’s repeated the comment several times since then. “If they decide they want to talk to me about it, that’ll be their decision.”  

Today, trustees will discuss the superintendent search process and time line. They’ll consider whether to hire a search firm or just focus on applications that have already come in. There’s another option - they could just hire Hinojosa.  Board Vice President Miguel Solis says most of his constituents see Hinojosa as a good fit. They’re also bothered by superintendent turnover.

“They want stability,” Solis said. “They’re tired of the consistent change that happens, give or take, every three years. When I do bring up Dr. Hinojosa’s name, a majority of individuals tend to feel like he did a good job while he was superintendent here previously, and in the area where he made mistakes, he learned from those mistakes.”  

Trustee Mike Morath knows several board members are Hinojosa fans, but he told KERA a national search maximizes the district’s options for finding the best leader.

Board President Eric Cowan says Hinojosa has enough support from board members and could be hired outright, based on his earlier six–year stint with the district and the work he’s done since June.

“He’s got a good relationship with community and with board members,” observed Cowan, “so he’s really off to a good start. Do we want to interrupt that progress or do we want to name him lone finalist?”

The district posted the superintendent job Aug. 31. Cowan says he hasn’t looked through the applications yet.  The soonest the board could name anyone a lone finalist is Sept. 15. 

Bill Zeeble has been a full-time reporter at KERA since 1992, covering everything from medicine to the Mavericks and education to environmental issues.