Houston Superintendent Terry Grier announced Thursday he will step down next March, leaving the helm of the country’s seventh-largest school districts after six years on the job.
“You can’t be school superintendent in Houston forever—even though you might want to, you just simply can’t,” Grier said during a Thursday press conference. “I still have a lot of energy and a lot of passion but, quite frankly, it’s just time. That’s it in a nutshell.”
Grier said he chose to announce his decision now so that the school board will have ample time to identify and prepare his successor. He has not yet decided on his next career move, but said he isn’t planning to retire.
When Grier assumed the superintendency in 2009, he set out to improve student academic achievement, slash the district’s dropout rate, and establish Houston as one of the nation’s premier urban school districts.
Houston was named a finalist in 2012 for one of the most prestigious awards in big-city public education, the Broad Prize for Urban Education.
In 2013, HISD won the Broad Prize and received national acclaim as the best urban school district in America as well as $550,000 in scholarships for students.
The Council of the Great City Schools, a Washington-based group that represents 67 of the nation’s big-city school districts, named Grier as their 2014 Urban Educator of the Year.
“I am most proud that our students consistently meet the challenges we put before them,” Grier said in a prepared statement. “When our actions show children that we believe in each and every one of them, no matter what obstacles they may face at home, our students always justify our faith.”
The Houston Chronicle reports that Grier’s $300,000-a-year contract was set to expire on June 30.
A version of this news article first appeared in the District Dossier blog.