Youth research

Outgoing FWISD leader defends his record and denounces conservative critics – NBC 5 Dallas-Fort Worth

The outgoing Fort Worth ISD superintendent said school districts hear from a strong but “small percentage” of conservatives who drown out other voices.

Kent Scribner spoke to NBC 5 on Wednesday, a day after the school board brought forward his resignation by two years.

Scribner announced in January that he would leave when his contract expires in 2024.

The school board announced on Tuesday that he would be leaving in August.

“It was a very friendly process,” Scribner said. “The board has remained extremely supportive.”

As for the vocal critics who have been calling for his ouster for months, Scribner said they do not represent the majority.

“Right now we’re hearing from a small percentage — a strong one — but a small percentage of our community and there are many voices that haven’t been engaged and haven’t been lifted,” Scribner said.

He said recent emphasis on issues such as “critical race theory” is misguided.

“It’s not something we teach in schools,” he said. “And I again think that’s a political tool that, unfortunately, hijacks our core mission of educating children.”

Of the push to remove books from school libraries that some find offensive or inappropriate, Scribner says it’s more politics.

“I think Americans, in general, are against this stuff.”

Scribner led the Fort Worth district for seven years — the last two during tough times.

“I think all of the decisions related to the pandemic have been difficult,” he said. “This is the toughest leadership scenario we’ve faced.”

Scribner said the district followed the science.

Under Scribner’s leadership, the district struggled with test scores and declining enrollment.

Scribner defended his case, saying he’s proud of the district’s state accountability score and a jump in college scholarships.

As for all the controversy in general, he said he was okay with it.

“I understand that conflict is the DNA of leadership,” he said. “If you don’t like conflict, maybe leadership isn’t for you.”

But after 29 years as superintendent, Scribner says he will seek his next job in the private sector.