Certain school board members want to fire superintendent Malone

The Italy School Board wants to get rid of Superintendent Malone. According to multiple sources, the special meeting scheduled for Monday evening is to pressure Malone into resigning or — failing that — possibly firing him. The timing of this is suspect at best, it can ruin a man’s life, it would unalterably change the future of the district, and probably will end quality education in Italy.

First off, Malone is doing a good job. The TAKS scores are better than ever. The schools are working well. Under his short tenure the district has gone from a bare $0.25 million reserve fund balance to almost $3 million. That’s over 9 times better than when he started.

This is the busiest time of the year for Superintendent Malone. He needs to get a replacement for Carolyn Mavers as well as other teachers. The budget needs to be completed. And NOW certain members of the school board want him GONE. WHY?

What do they hope to accomplish?

After discussing this with multiple people who are knowledgeable about the situation, we think certain school board members want to:

  1. Bring back Lisa Mott, former volleyball coach, and make her the principal of Stafford Elementary or — if possible — principal of the high school.
  2. Return Kyle Holley as athletic director.
  3. Return Don Clingenpeel as superintendent.

This leads to the inevitable conclusion that these certain school board members want to make the district a sports oriented district and not an academic one.

In the process, these people will probably ruin the district and a man’s career.

If they can convince Malone to resign, he won’t be able to get the remainder of his three-year contract which was renewed by the old school board in January. It will make it difficult for Malone to get a job in another district. Resignation has a stain associated with it that’s hard to overcome.

Malone can refuse to resign. It is his right. The school board will then have to pay off his contract and also pay a similar amount to the State Board of Education as a penalty for firing their superintendent. The total cost will be close to $500,000 from the district funds.

Even more troubling is the message it will send all potential, future administrators. How can you possibly attract great talent, wonderful teachers, excellent principals and hard working superintendents when you FIRE one that has done nothing wrong. Word will get around that Italy, Texas is a town to avoid as a quality career in education.

Malone is not being let go because of his performance. He’s being kicked out because of favoritism in the barely elected school board.


Cheryl Owen, Board President 972/824-6030
Larry Eubank 469/867-2021
Tommy Morrison 214/674-2754
Curtis Riddle 469/337-0193
Marty Haight 972/365-7106
Paul Cockerham 972/268-0826
Jon Mathers 972/351-7759

Comment by John Droll, received June 5, 2010, 9:47pm

I have no proof of any school board member’s motive in calling this meeting.

I have had, maybe, 6 conversations with Mr. Malone since he became superintendent. 1 was at an EDC meeting, 2 or 3 of those revolved around my selling him tickets to the Paul McCartney concert, and once he was at Itasca and saw me eating lunch and sat down at the table for a few minutes. There may have been others but I can’t recall them.

I tell you this to point out that my concern has nothing to do with Mr. Malone directly.

I know his contract was extended in January and as I went back and re-read all of the board agendas posted since that date, not one has listed setting any goals for the superintendent. If there were serious problems that came up in his evaluation the board should have met to set goals for him to meet.

My overwhelming concern is the timing. This is June. This school year has to be closed out with plans made for next year. Schools across Texas are waiting for an AG’s opinion on teacher salary schedules so they can prepare and finalize budgets to present to their board.

The Italy superintendent has to hire an Elementary Principal. Every one of you knows, or should know, how important a hire this is. He also has to hire a PEIMS Coordinator and Diagnostician.

Mr. Malone and Mrs. Parker have to hire a Counselor/District Test Coordinator.

Mrs. Parker has to hire a math teacher.

I received 2 calls yesterday and 1 this morning.

Yesterday the calls were from someone I know, the other from a teacher moving to Hillsboro from San Antonio. The teacher has been researching jobs and called someone I used to work with in Desoto. She asked about Italy and was given my number. In her research she came across the agenda posted for Monday’s meeting. She wanted to know if the superintendent and board were having difficulties getting along. This was a teacher of 18 years asking. She knows what that agenda means when it shows up in June.

I have no direct knowledge of what burr someone has under their saddle.

If enough board members want a new superintendent that is their decision. But you need to cancel Monday’s meeting and start this discussion at the next board meeting. Inform Mr. Malone that you want to start the 11-12 school year with new leadership and give yourself enough time to find the right person, not necessarily someone you know or want to be super. That person can come on board in the spring with a smooth transition. That makes the assumption a majority want a new super. I believe Mr. Malone is a professional and will work with the district to do what he thinks is best. I wish I could say the same for some of the board members.

It would be odd for a board to make this move now unless there was a smoking gun. Since there doesn’t appear to be one its easy to assume some of them already have a replacement in mind.

I believe 3 of our board members know the implications of making this move in June. 2 are Eubanks and Morrison. The 3rd is Owens. And since she is Board President I feel confident she is going to draw on her education experience and not support any change in leadership now. She knows how hard it is for a new teacher that is hired at the last minute or after the school year has started. Even experienced teachers.

Board members: this is the last minute and the last thing that needs to be done in this district at this time.

Comment by Alysa Kirton received June 5, 2010, 7:31am

There have been rumors and accusations running throughout this community about the school board members and their “ulterior motives.”

Let me begin by saying that I have been to just about every school board meeting since the board hired Gail Haterius as superintendent. There may be one or two members with “ulterior motives” but as a whole, I do not believe the board has the cynical intentions that are circulating around town.

When I began hearing some of the latest rumors, I called the school board president. I respect her honesty. There were things she could talk about and things, of course, that she could not discuss. However, she calmed my concerns. I highly respect most of the board members after seeing them in meeting after meeting the last few years. I have not seen any of them — past or present — put athletics above academics during the time I have covered the school board. I believe the school board has our kids’ best interest at heart.

Currently, I believe the board is pushing to get an elementary school principal in place as soon as possible, to get a counselor hired for the district as soon as possible and to get the TAKS scores raised. The latter has happened. The others have not.

If you really want to know what is going on, go to the school board meetings, not just tonight’s meeting but every meeting. See for yourself how much time and attention they put into every item on an agenda.

Comment by Kelly Greer received June 7, 2010, 1:42pm

Here we go again, the GOOD OLE BOY system is alive and kicking in italy!!

NEVER ceases to amaze me just how long so many people are going to let the GOB CRAP fly around here. Mr Malone has done a fabulous job, his record speaks for its self, and last I checked that IS what matters. I could care less if you personally like/dislike Mr. Malone, that SHOULDN’T be in question, what is however is his job performance. HE HAS DONE VERY WELL, he has turned this district around and ONLY the GOB posse could or would attempt to remove him from his position inspite of his solid performance.If only we could remove members of the school board as easily and carelessly…

I spoke on record at a school board meeting a few years ago, defending Coach Mott and asking for her to remain in her position as asst. principal. Although she was my daughter’s volleyball coach at the time and we were in the middle of playoff’s, I asked that she stay as asst. principal for the discipline that she enforced and the good job she was doing. Im about discipline and order and rules in place that are not bendable. Athletics is a priviledge, ONLY that. I respected her for holding kids accountable no matter what. It fell on deaf ears…. Now you want her back, let me take the opportunity to say I TOLD YOU SO.
She should have never been removed!!! For the record had the football team been in playoffs, their coach would have never been removed, after all boy’s and girl’s athletics in italy to this day remain unfair in spite of laws in place that require it to be EQUAL.

You have to think, we have had numerous principals over the past 6 years, were they just that bad at their job or was it the common denominator, the school board ? I have an opinion,can and WILL share my opinion. It isn’t about whether you will support my local business, or that we are friends or that my check comes from you. I do not sell what i know to be right, fair and respectable to the lowest bidder. No grey, no fence riding, no GOB syndrome. Im ready for the childish tit for tat and the witch hunts to cease, after all we are adults. If you judge Mr. Malone for ANYthing other than his job performance and the positive direction he has our district, then shame on you. You are doing our children a huge injustice. Last time I checked we do not exactly have people beating the doors down to get a job at our schools, your shady business conducted here is well known.

To the new school board members, I ask that you have a backbone and use it. Have an opinion, be fair and don’t give into the if you can’t beat them then join them… Real character is when no one is looking and you still do the right thing.

Mr Malone, you have done a fine job, hold your head high and be proud of your accomplishments. Your job should never be in question. Welcome to italy where none of that matters!!

In closing I leave you with this thought: To do the same thing over and over expecting a different result is the true definition of insanity.