MIDLAND, TX – The anticipated termination of Midland ISD’s superintendent continues as the school district's board voted unanimously, 7-0, on Tuesday for the immediate termination of the contract of Superintendent Orlando Riddick.
The proposal and vote on the item followed another multi-hour executive session which covered Riddick’s overall evaluation, and the board's decision to continue with his removal after three years as the district’s superintendent.
Midland ISD officials noted last week that there is an official process school board members must follow, as Riddick’s contract isn’t set to expire until June 30 of 2022.
In an email last week, the district stated the following, “the board would first take action to propose mid-contract termination.”
This action followed shortly after on Tuesday afternoon.
“The superintendent would then be provided written notice that includes the reasons for termination. He then has 15 days to request a hearing from an independent hearing examiner. If he does not request a hearing, the board could then take final action at the next board meeting.”
District 2 representative Robert Marquez initially made the motion to “propose the termination of Mr. Orlando Riddick’s superintendent’s contract during the contract term for good cause and further authorize the board president to prepare and finalize any related notices required by law or policy and to schedule a hearing if requested and do all other things necessary related to preparing for and holding such hearing.”
District 4 representative John Kennedy seconded the motion, and the board unanimously approved the item.
The Midland ISD board then went into an executive session for more than 2 1/2 hours Tuesday evening, which brought the total time in executive sessions over their last three meetings to more than 10 hours, dating back to Aug. 17.
Three citizens called into the public comment portion of the meeting, all boasting continuous support of the superintendent.
Of these callers were Eddie Rabb, the president of the local NAACP chapter, who immediately told the board it would take more than three years for a superintendent to implement a new program.
He was very critical of the idea of spending money to hire another agency to find another leader, as He questioned the need to change the districts leadership during a global pandemic.
Rabb finished his argument by saying, “I hope we don’t have to take this any further.”'
A second caller by the name of Matthew Johns later identified as a teacher from MISD with 14 years of experience within the district spoke on behalf of the superintendent.
Johns quickly questioned the need to drag the superintendent through such a lengthy process arguing that extending the decision over the course of several meetings gave the appearance that the decision was being handled in an “indecisive and meandered manner.”
He even argued how the board would determine that Riddick’s performance was any different than the previous 2018-19 school year since there wasn’t any state testing done in 2019-20, and even added that the decision to remove Riddick was a “desperate attempt to right a ship you helped crash.”
Johns went on to mention that removing the superintendent in such a manner impacts the district’s ability to find a high-quality replacement.
An unidentified third caller was adamant that Midlanders don’t give up, adding that the school board should rally around the superintendent rather than cutting him loose, and allow him to lead the district to a better situation.