TPS Surprised By Superintendent Candidate Dropping Out

Friday, January 30th 2015, 7:17 pm

One of the two candidates for Tulsa Schools Superintendent asked to be dropped out of consideration for the district's top job.

Millard House II, a former TPS deputy superintendent, dropped out just as the school board was about to make a final decision.

House was considered for the job years before the job was available.

He was the architect of Tulsa's school consolidation plan and his departure to run a school district in Charlotte, North Carolina influenced Keith Ballard's decision to put off retirement while new, internal leaders could develop.

1/30/2015 Related Story: Candidate For Tulsa School Superintendent Withdraws

It was no surprise when House was named a finalist in the search, but it was a huge surprise when he dropped out of the running.

"I am not happy. I think they need to reboot, regroup and start over," said Shawna Mott-Wright with the Tulsa Classroom Teachers Association.

The teachers union had publicly supported House for the job over the other finalist, Dr. Deborah Gist.

He had a long tenure at TPS and she was known only by a controversial history from Rhode Island and Washington D.C.

"That makes her the default choice, so even if she was going to be their choice, it doesn't bode well for her anyway, and no one should have to start like that," Mott-Wright said.

It's up to the school board what to do next - whether to go ahead and pick the other finalist, or widen the search in some way.

They will meet Monday night to possibly make the final decision or decide to keep looking.

“She's a strong, strong, candidate, and I can't say that will definitely happen on Monday, but it looks like it could go that way. We'll just have to see what the board does," TPS spokesman Chris Payne said.

He said House notified the board early Friday of his decision, saying "The timing is simply not right for me."

Payne said there was no indication of who would have gotten the job before House pulled out.

“It's always good when you've got two great choices to pick from and I think the board will pick this up on Monday and make the best decision for TPS,” he said.

The board meets Monday night, in executive session, and could make the decision.

That meeting starts at 8:00, after their regular meeting, and there's no telling how long the decision will take.