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Three state officials are calling for a member of Edgewood ISD's board of trustees to step down. Credit: Bonnie Arbittier / San Antonio Report

The Edgewood Independent School District board of managers voted Thursday night to name Eduardo Hernandez, the chief academic officer from Duncanville ISD, as the new superintendent. Hernandez will become superintendent effective June 19, board President Roy Soto said.

The board selected Hernandez from a pool of 47 applicants. Soto said the board was particularly impressed with Hernandez’s experience as chief officer of academics and innovation and chief of schools in Duncanville ISD, a suburban Dallas school district that Soto described as similar to Edgewood.

Duncanville has a total student enrollment of about 12,800 students, the majority of whom are black and Hispanic. About 76 percent of Duncanville’s student body are economically disadvantaged. More than 90 percent of Edgewood ISD’s nearly 10,800 students are considered economically disadvantaged.

Eduardo Hernandez

While Hernandez hasn’t previously held a superintendent position, Soto said that he appeared familiar with Edgewood students’ experience.

Before Hernandez’s final interview, the Duncanville educator arrived early to get a sense of the local community, Soto said. When board members asked Hernandez what he saw, he said that the district looked familiar.

“He said, ‘I saw the place where I grew up. It just looked like the neighborhood and community where I grew up,’” Soto said of Hernandez’s response.

Hernandez previously worked in Terrell, Crowley, and Dallas ISDs. He grew up in East Dallas, Soto said.

Hernandez will replace Emilio Castro, who resigned March 31 after harassment allegations were levied against him by a district employee. The district placed Castro on paid leave as it conducted an investigation into the allegations. Houston-based law firm Rogers Morris & Grover conducted the investigation, which cost the district more than $35,000.

Chief Academic Officer Philip Chavez served as interim superintendent after Castro notified the district of his intent to resign.

The district first launched a search for Castro’s replacement after his resignation. Edgewood held two community forums to get public feedback, although few people turned out to give input. Those who did asked for a superintendent who would engage with the community and be honest and transparent.

The district interviewed candidates at the beginning of May and conducted follow-up interviews the week of May 14.

Edgewood ISD, a district on San Antonio’s West Side, has been governed by a board of managers since May 2016. Commissioner of Education Mike Morath appointed a board of five managers after he determined the elected board of trustees lacked the ability to govern effectively.

While the district has experienced a high rate of turnover in the superintendent’s office in the years leading up to state intervention, Soto said the board of managers expects Hernandez to stay as superintendent for at least three to five years.

The next few years will mark some change for the district and its board of managers. Soto told reporters that sometime this year, two members of the elected board of trustees will join the board of managers. In 2019, two additional elected trustees will join the board, and two managers will step down from the board.

Trustee Eddie Romero said he was not aware which trustees would be selected to rejoin the board, adding that the decision is up to the Texas Education Agency.

Texas law mandates a 21-day waiting period before the selection of a superintendent becomes official. The board of managers will vote to make its decision final on June 19. Soto said that he did not know whether district residents would be able to meet Hernandez prior to his official hiring.

Hernandez is scheduled to appear at the June 19 board meeting, district spokeswoman Keyhla Calderon-Lugo said.

Emily Donaldson

Emily Donaldson reports on education for the San Antonio Report.