Tarrant County area LULAC leaders told school trustees that they were upset a qualified Hispanic woman was not named to Fort Worth school’s interim superintendent post in favor of a man who has fewer qualifications.
Chief of Administration Sylvia Reyna, (pictured at left) who came to the district last summer after nearly 30 years in San Antonio area public schools, holds a superintendent certification and a doctorate, her supporters pointed out at tonight’s meeting. “We women need not be overlooked for positions,” said Deborah Lott, an area LULAC leader who is African American.
Walter Dansby, who has been in the Fort Worth district 37 years and was previously deputy superintendent, was named interim superintendent earlier this month. Dansby, who is black, has said he began taking the superintendent certification test last summer but did not complete it when he had to address issues related to school construction. He has served as a teacher, coach, principal and administrator in Fort Worth and most recently oversaw the bond program.
Reyna’s supporters note that 60 percent of Fort Worth’s students are Hispanic and nearly a third are limited-English speakers. Reyna holds a bachelor’s in Spanish and French.
Reyna said she was surprised and honored by the community’s show of support for her. She said she supports Dansby as he takes on his new duties.
When asked if she was interested in the post permanently, Reyna replied, “Certainly, I'm qualified. If it's in the cards, I would take that opportunity.”Dansby replaces outgoing superintendent Melody Johnson, who resigned from the district after nearly six years.
Trustee Carlos Vasquez, one of Dansby's most vocal supporters, said at the time of the interim appointment that he was asked by others why he didn’t push for a Hispanic candidate. He said then that he wasn’t looking at race but for the most qualified person, which he said Dansby is.
Dansby has said he is not interested in the position permanently but will serve as long as the district needs him. A noon reception is planned Friday by a coalition of Black and Hispanic leaders for the community to meet Dansby. It will be at the Villas of Eastwood Terrace, 4700 E. Berry St.