FORT WORTH -- Some LULAC members who spoke at the Fort Worth school board meeting Tuesday night said they are worried that a top Hispanic school administrator will be forced out because they publicly supported her as the district's interim superintendent instead of Walter Dansby.
Mary Hernandez, a local League of United Latin American Citizens leader, said LULAC members were told by a school trustee that their support of Sylvia Reyna, the district's chief of administration, could get her fired. She declined to name the trustee.
"This kind of threat is unethical and could be criminal," Hernandez said. "This lady is not responsible for our actions or advocacy on her own behalf."
She and other LULAC members who spoke at the meeting said Reyna should have been named as Melody Johnson's interim replacement, saying she has more tenure as an administrator and has a doctorate and a superintendent's certification.
Other LULAC members supported Danbsy, who is black.
Reyna has been in the district one year and spent most of her career in the San Antonio area. Dansby, who grew up in Fort Worth, has served in the district 37 years as a teacher, coach, principal and central administrator.
Reyna said that she is humbled by the show of support "but I'm supportive of the current administration and am 100 percent behind Mr. Dansby as we work to do the mission that we have to do for our school district."
Trustee Carlos Vasquez said the there is no merit to LULAC's claims.
"It's amazing to me that they're complaining about this now," Vasquez said. "Where were they when we were selecting the interim?"
Board President Ray Dickerson said he is not aware of any threats against Reyna.
"I think no matter which way the board decided, we'd still have this" criticism, Dickerson said. "This is why we need to move forward quickly to select a permanent superintendent to put this all behind us."
In other business, trustees voted 6-2 to seek an appeal of the Texas education commissioner's decision to have a rehearing in the case of former Arlington Heights High School assistant principal Joseph Palazzolo. Vasquez and trustee Ann Sutherland opposed the move.
Palazzolo was fired in October after district officials said he lied on his job application. But Palazzolo, who denied lying on his application, said he was retaliated against for bringing forward concerns about Heights, including questionable attendance practices and abuse of power by some campus faculty.
An intense-six day hearing appealing the board's decision upheld the firing. But commissioner Robert Scott threw out the findings because the district paid the independent hearing examiner above the state-allowed cap.
Eva-Marie Ayala, 817-390-7700