Attorney: Colleyville Heritage principal wasn’t told why contract may not be renewed

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James Whitfield, the first Black principal at Colleyville Heritage High School, will learn whether he will keep his job during a specially-called board meeting.

Grapevine-Colleyville trustees will meet at 5 p.m. Monday at the school administration building, 3051 Ira E. Woods Avenue.

Whitfield has been on paid administrative leave since late August, and last week, trustees were supposed to vote on whether to renew his contract, but the meeting was postponed because not enough board members could attend.

David Henderson, an attorney who is representing Whitfield, said he and his client learned on Sept. 9 that the superintendent was going to recommend that the school board should vote against renewing Whitfield’s contract.

Henderson described how Whitfield was not given specific reasons why officials did not want to renew the contract.

Whitfield received a document listing 34 possible reasons for “non-renewal.” The school district highlighted several which include: Deficiencies pointed out in observation reports, appraisals or evaluations, supplemental memoranda or other communications, insubordination or failure to comply with official directives and failure to meet the District’s standards of professional conduct.

Henderson said Whitfield will receive an explanation after the school board votes, implying that his fate is already decided.

“They refused to provide any specificities until after the board votes. They’re leaving him in the dark and they don’t provide any clarity,” Henderson said.

Whitfield was called out publicly and accused of teaching and promoting critical race theory during the July 26 school board meeting. Publicly naming employees during a school board meeting goes against district policy.

Whitfield wrote a lengthy Facebook post several days later saying he could no longer remain silent about racial attacks against him after he was publicly named at the meeting.

The district told the Star-Telegram previously that Whitfield’s being placed on administrative leave is a personnel matter, and that it had nothing to do with accusations that he taught critical race theory or photos he posted showing him with his wife on the beach while celebrating their anniversary.

Henderson said serving as principal at Colleyville Heritage is more than a job to Whitfield.

“Right now, this is his life. The district is treating this just like this is just his job. But when you are a principal, this is not a 9 to 5 job. You live in the community and your kids go to school here; the decent thing to do is provide more clarity,” Henderson said.

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