The Texas Education Agency Ends Monitoring of Round Rock School Board
The Texas Education Agency on June 16 stopped monitoring the Round Rock school board after nearly two years, following allegations of misconduct by a board member.
According to a TEA report, the school board met all criteria set by monitor David Faltys in following all policies and for trustees to improve communication with each other. Faltys previously served as the superintendent for the Carroll school district near Dallas.
The TEA began monitoring the district in September 2021 after receiving a complaint in December 2019 of misconduct by then-Board President Chad Chadwell.
Improved Communication and Policy Adherence
Through his monitoring, Faltys found there were no changes needed to the board’s policies related to grievances but that the board needed to adhere to its policies. Throughout the monitoring period, the board received 33 grievances and Faltys looked into 22 of them, according to a report from the TEA.
The agency also investigated 18 complaints about violations of the Texas Open Meetings Act, which it found did not have sufficient evidence to substantiate.
To improve communication between trustees, board members participated in multiple trainings to “rebuild trust and incorporate appropriate communication structures.” According to the report, since the beginning of the monitoring period communication between the trustees has improved.
Recommendations and Conclusion
Despite the end of the monitoring, the TEA recommends that the trustees obtain more training on the Texas Opening Meetings Act and take Lone Star Governance training to ensure board meetings are productive.
On Dec.5, 2019, the TEA received a complaint alleging a Round Rock trustee “engaged in behavior detrimental and counter-productive to the welfare of the district and its students.”
Allegations against Chad Chadwell
In 2019, Sandra Carpenter, who served as general counsel on the superintendent’s executive leadership team, accused Chadwell of illegally retaliating against her in the workplace and generally mistreating her. She also blamed the board, saying trustees supported Chadwell’s behavior by allowing him to remain president and creating an atmosphere that encourages community members to target — and sometimes discriminate against — administrators.
During a public hearing in October 2019, Chadwell refused to recuse himself from the hearing, despite a request from a trustee and Carpenter’s lawyer. The TEA found this a violation of the Texas Education Code, according to a summary letter by the agency.
Investigation into Hafedh Azaiez
Azaiez was place on paid leave on Jan. 6, 2022, because the board, acting upon recommendations from the TEA, authorized an independent investigation in of a protective order issued against him in a personal matter. He was reinstated on March 24, 2022.
A Travis County judge issued the protective order against Azaiez on July 30, 2021, and it expired on Dec. 15, according to court records. According to a report by a third-party investigator, the superintendent agreed to a permanent protective order on Dec. 13. No charges were filed against the Azaiez.
That TEA investigation was closed in September 2022, according to the agency.