EducationLocal NewsFort Worth ISD Announces New Superintendent Will Come from Midland

Fort Worth ISD is hiring a new superintendent, who is already being criticized for her views on race.
August 31, 2022
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On Tuesday evening, Fort Worth Independent School District (FWISD) announced its lone finalist for superintendent, Dr. Angélica Ramsey, to replace the embattled Dr. Kent Scribner, who announced his planned retirement in January.

A 21-day waiting period required by Texas law now ensues with final action on the hire expected in September.

Ramsey has been the superintendent of Midland ISD for the last year. Before that, she was the superintendent for Pleasant Valley, California schools from 2016 to 2021.

“We are excited to name Dr. Angélica Ramsey as the lone finalist for superintendent of the Fort Worth ISD,” said Board President Tobi Jackson in a press release. “She will bring her many amazing leadership qualities to our District and to the benefit of our greater community.”

FWISD did not reply to a request about Ramsey’s salary; Scribner was paid $330,000 per year. Midland had just offered Ramsey a salary increase from $275,000 to $310,000 based on her review and the improvement in school performance.

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Each job change has brought Ramsey to a larger district. Midland was three times larger with its 40 schools than Pleasant Valley with its 11; now she takes the reins of FWISD and its 140 schools.

Ramsey has a bachelor’s degree from the University of the Pacific, a master’s from the University of Texas at El Paso, and a doctorate in educational leadership from Liberty University.

Over 20 community members offered comments about the decision to hire Ramsey, some supporting the decision and others critical of her record.

The topic of her doctoral dissertation was criticized by some speakers, including Carlos Turcios, an FWISD graduate who has actively opposed critical race theory (CRT) in the district.

“I believe that FWISD will not see much change with this new hire. Ramsey wrote a 191-page dissertation supporting Latina CRT. Ramsey will continue the divisive equity practices of the Scribner era. We will continue to attend the meetings and protest due to this,” Turcios wrote to The Texan.

Ramsey’s dissertation, presented in 2013 as part of her doctoral work at Liberty, is entitled “Nuestra Voz: A Critical Ethnographic Study of Latina School Leaders.”

The abstract states that one of her key findings was “championing the causes of equity and student success for all with a social justice agenda,” concepts that have been the center of controversy at FWISD.

Additionally, Ramsey’s theoretical framework for her dissertation is based on the understanding that Latina principals are “disenfranchised” and are an “example of systemic racism endemic” in the school systems of America, as well as Latina CRT or “LatCrit.”

Multiple references cited in her dissertation embrace critical race theory and its attendant concepts.

Ramsey responded to concerns about CRT that it neither now nor ever has been in K-12 classrooms, according to an article by the Fort Worth Report.

Regarding her dissertation, she said it addressed the issue of more Latino students coming into schools while getting to know Latina principals and their challenges in obtaining those positions.

Sarah Hale, a mother of two students in Midland ISD, believes Ramsey will bring CRT and social emotional learning programs to FWISD as she did in Midland. “They won’t come in under those labels,” Hale said. “Parents in Fort Worth should be on guard.”

“She wasn’t here very long, but she’s very likable,” Hale said of Ramsey, but when Hale and her fellow parents started asking questions about programs and details, she said Ramsey refused to respond.

Hale gave an example of a meeting she said was set up with Ramsey in February through her secretary about data and privacy concerns related to technology programs. When it came time to have the meeting, Hale claimed, Ramsey didn’t show up and sent an assistant instead.

“She’s never been unkind, but she cut off communication once we got too close to issues she didn’t want to answer,” Hale noted.

To lead the search, FWISD chose to use the services of Hazard, Young, Attea (HYA) Associates.

The district sought feedback from stakeholders about the “qualities you want in the next superintendent” through an online survey and in-person and virtual meetings in May.

Jennifer Treger, a mother of three, questioned attendance at the meetings, having been to two herself and only seeing 20 parents at one and three at another. In a district with a student population numbering nearly 75,000, she called it a “sad turnout.”

Board trustee Quinton Phillips praised the “extensive” outreach, saying the board had significant community engagement with 75 individual and group meetings.

According to a presentation by HYA Associates at the June 14 board meeting, 561 people were involved in the 75 meetings. The survey elicited 1,942 responses, almost 30 percent of which were from teachers.

Treger also expressed doubts that the board took the feedback from the parent meetings into account. She said two major traits the public “felt were most important of the new superintendent were to focus on education and less on the non-education issues and to eliminate [diversity, equity, and inclusion].” She then pointed to the CRT elements of Ramsey’s dissertation.

The district compiled a list of “desired characteristics,” summarized as “a courageous, student-oriented instructional leader, who has demonstrated success in a diverse school district and holds a track record of success in closing opportunity gaps, to be its next superintendent.”

Midland ISD and FWISD have similar populations of minority students, while FWISD has a greater percentage of students considered economically disadvantaged.

Some parents at Tuesday’s meeting also expressed concern that the progress in Midland ISD under Ramsey’s supervision was not as noteworthy as might appear given the changes to the Texas Education Agency (TEA) rating system.

Recent legislation allows schools that receive a D or F rating to be considered “not rated.” According to the TEA, this “Not Rated: Senate Bill 1365 label was applied when the domain or overall scaled score for a district or campus was less than 70.”

Midland’s overall rating increased from a C to a B. Nine of its campuses would have been a D or F but are now “not rated.” The number of campuses earning an A or B rating more than tripled since the TEA’s 2019 rating.

FWISD received a B from the TEA this year, up from its previous rating of C. It had 34 schools labeled “not rated.”

“God bless her for wanting to take this on,” Treger said of Ramsey, after expressing a desire to work together and have good communication as proposed by the Texas Education Code in its purpose statement that parents “be encouraged to actively participate in creating and implementing educational programs for their children.”

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Kim Roberts

Kim Roberts is a reporter for the Texan in the DFW metroplex area where she has lived for over twenty years. She has a Juris Doctor from Baylor University Law School and a Bachelor's in government from Angelo State University. In her free time, Kim home schools her daughter and coaches high school extemporaneous speaking and apologetics. She has been happily married to her husband for 23 years, has three wonderful children, and two dogs.