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Paige, Rod(1933–) - Heads Houston’s School System, Chronology

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When Petruzielo left in 1994, Paige became the prime candidate for superintendent. A majority of the school board expressed their desire to hire Paige while he was still serving on the board without going through a national search process. The Hispanic Education Committee expressed strong opposition to the appointment of Paige and the hiring process that followed. A lawsuit was filed by the committee against the school district. The federal courts vindicated the school district of all charges in the suit, freeing Paige to concentrate on fully implementing the reforms that were outlined in the Beliefs and Visions document.



Born in Monticello, Mississippi on June 17


Receives B.A. from Jackson State College


Marries Gloria Crawford


Becomes football coach at Jackson State University


Earns M.A. in physical education from Indiana University


Earns Ed.D. in physical education from Indiana University


Serves as head football coach and athletic director at Texas Southern University


Leaves coaching to become dean of the College of Education at Texas Southern University


Serves on the Houston Independent School District school board


Serves as superintendent of Houston Independent school district


Serves as U.S. secretary of education

Paige began his administration in 1994 by focusing on the reform of the district’s administration. He sought to work in partnership with leaders in the business community. At his request the school district formed numerous task forces made up of outside experts to recommend ways to improve efficiency. Business leaders were impressed with Paige’s management style and straightforward approach to solving problems. Many of the recommendations were implemented by the district, and Paige called the reform program a huge success.

However, some of Paige’s reforms were not well received by teachers and employees in the district. When principals were granted more authority to make personnel decisions on their campuses, Gayle Fallon of the area union told the Houston Chronicle , “We didn’t see a check and balance on what we considered unbridled power.” Several employees argued against the decentralizing of student services and special education from the district offices to the schools. Despite the criticism and the failure of a $390 million bond election, Paige stayed the course of his Beliefs and Visions plan.

In 1996, the state of Texas, led by comptroller John Sharp, conducted a full-scale audit of HISD. Paige was able to utilize the audit to accelerate his plan for decentralization and reorganization of the district. He privatized several of the district’s services, including food service, school maintenance, and employee benefits. The district launched an overhaul of curriculum management and instructional training, implementing standardized testing for all students third grade and up. The district contracted with private secular schools to relieve overcrowding and take children that were struggling academically. Teacher and administrator evaluations were modified to focus on individual performance. Sharp praised Paige for his assistance with the auditors and credited him and his colleagues with the turnaround of HISD.

By 2000, Paige’s reforms were making a real difference. Education Week reported that between 1994 and 1999, the proportion of students passing the Texas Assessment of Academic Skills rose from 49 percent to 74 percent. Brad Duggan of the watchdog group “Just for Kids” told the Houston Chronicle that 26 percent of HISD’s elementary schools were performing better than comparable schools elsewhere in the state. The public’s endorsement of Paige’s leadership came in 1998 with the approval of a record $678 million bond issue to launch the largest building program in the district’s history.

Painter, Nell Irvin (1942–) - U.S. History, Southern [next] [back] Packard, David - Overview, Personal Life, Career Details, Chronology: David Packard, Social and Economic Impact

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