BAYTOWN – It may be that some of the board members of Goose Creek Consolidated ISD got ahead of reality in efforts to guide the district in a different direction this week and that calling for the resignation of the popular superintendent of the schools was a less than popular idea.
Last Monday, at a regular meeting of the Board of Trustees a vocal crowd with signs and plenty of enthusiasm showed up and signed up to speak for Randal O’Brien. Of ten citizens that signed up to talk on a topic, all ten spoke accolades for O’Brien. Most expressed their appreciation for the dedication of their superintendent for goals that he has promoted in every method.
Libby Zegland spoke first of O’Brien’s attentiveness to parents, faculty and staff. She called for the renewal of O’Brien’s contract.
Melissa Aitel spoke next of her experience as a parent with the district and in particular about O’Brien. From the start she made a case for proven character and competence. “Under his leadership our students routinely advanced in state UIL Competition.”
She concluded, “There is no better person for the job.”
Jenessa Coffey, a former school trustee, pointed to the failed school bond, that some believe the superintendent is being blamed for, and redirected the blame back at the board, especially Pete Pape. She described the board pushing through a bond that lacked consideration of what was best for the schools in the Goose Creek District.
“When the school board decided that Randy O’Brien should be named our superintendent it was the perfect answer to the question, ‘What is best for the children of our district.’”
She described O’Brien in terms of healing concerns and facilitating communication. She described him as being seen as involved in the community, hard working, honest and cooperative man. “He lives everyday to doing what is absolutely the best for the students at GCCISD.”
Don Coffey, who is Justice of the Peace for Precinct 3 Position 2, spoke next, calling in favor of the resignation of Pete Pape, saying, “You have refused to allow Randy O’Brien to run this district without your pervasive interference.”
Every sentence by Coffee brought loud applause and cheers. He immediately launched into the failed bond issue as predicate to calling for O’Brien’s resignation. He charged that as the bond committee took pains to put together a bond that would meet the needs of the students and be an affordable package for the voters, “ Al Richard took the lead and added over $86 Million dollars, insuring that the bond would fail.”
Briscoe Cain, R. – District 128, Texas House of Representatives, spoke in favor of O’Brien’s capabilities.
Jessica Woods representing the Highlands area put the last item of the day, “Consideration of Action to Accept the Resignation of Randal O’Brien as Superintendent of Schools and Approval of Voluntary Resignation Agreement and Consideration to Approve Interim Superintendent Employment Agreement” back onto an agenda for a meeting called for on Aug. 15, that also will discuss the failed bond issue.
She stated to the Star-Courier, “I feel that yesterday’s executive session with Mr. O’Brien included much healthy dialogue concerning the communication process we as a board and the Superintendent should employ. As overseers of the district, I feel we can be clearer in our expectations and can help guide the education process. It is my belief that the many perspectives and the various areas of expertise provided by all board members can bring value to the leadership team if clearly communicated.”
Woods concluded, “It is my belief that extending Mr. O’Brien’s contract is the best way for GCCISD to move forward. And I will continue to advocate for that.”