The No. 2 administrator at Gainesville ISD was released from his employment contract Friday.

The GISD Board of Trustees approved an exit agreement for Assistant Superintendent Dr. Dennis McNaughten Friday afternoon during a special called meeting.

According to the signed exit agreement between McNaughten and the Gainesville ISD, his last official day of employment is Dec. 31. He was placed on administrative leave Oct. 16 and has not performed duties as an assistant superintendent since then.

“I’m just glad it’s resolved and I wish Gainesville ISD the best with its kids in the future,” McNaughten said in an interview this morning.

According to the agreement, McNaughten voluntarily resigned and will be paid a lump sum of what would be his pay from January through April — up to $31,215.62.

The district is also obligated, according to the agreement, to pay McNaughten’s legal defense expenses.

McNaughten said he obtained an attorney through the Texas Association of School Administrators, of which he is a member.

He also agreed to not sue the district regarding his employment.

The agreement was signed by McNaughten, Board of Trustees President Lisa Bellows and Secretary Tommy Moore.

McNaughten was not present for Friday’s meeting.

He said he is searching for another job in education but is open to other career options.

“I’m considering changing from education, even though it’s my burning passion,” he said.

Luke said he is not looking to hire an assistant superintendent to replace McNaughten at this time, as making curriculum compatible between the schools in the GISD is “the crying need right now.”

“We’ll probably be looking for a director of curriculum for next semester,” Luke said. “Right now I feel curriculum instruction is one of our main issues, given the condition of our high school ...”

Gainesville High School was deemed “academically unacceptable” by the Texas Education Agency in August, prompting a review of the district’s curriculum and the appointment of a “campus intervention team” to address the high school’s situation.

The position of assistant superintendent was created in 2004 and funded for the first time this year. The district hired McNaughten over the summer and he almost immediately became the focus of attention when he proposed a stricter dress code for Gainesville High School days before the first day of class.

He helped to obtain an “early high school grant” for $600,000 over three years to assist Gainesville High School students in attaining a community college associate’s degree by high school graduation.

McNaughten was criticized by the GISD board for his unilateral action in appointing a campus intervention team for Gainesville High School. This was the first year a campus intervention team was required for “academically unacceptable” schools. McNaughten said he had no precedent from which to work. Bellows said McNaughten should have consulted the board regarding such an important matter.

In mid-to-late October, several letters to the Register criticized McNaughten’s use of the word “sucks” in regard to his personal evaluation of the effectiveness of the TEA’s Region XI Service Center, as reported in the Oct. 10 Register.

Reporter Andy Hogue may be contacted at andyhoguegdr[at]ntin.net

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