Superintendent Michael Hinojosa reflects on his tenure with Dallas ISD

Longtime Dallas ISD Superintendent Dr. Michael Hinojosa is reflecting on his time leading Texas’ second-largest school district Friday as he gave his state of the district talk.

After more than a decade with Dallas ISD, Hinojosa is set to leave at the end of this year. The search for his replacement is underway.

Welcomed with a standing ovation, Dallas ISD Superintendent Dr. Michael Hinojosa took the stage for his last state of the district speech Friday afternoon. 

"Dallas ISD is going to be the main pipeline for the workforce," he said.

Dr. Hinojosa of Oak Cliff has led DISD for 13 years. During his final years, he faced several unprecedented hardships, including COVID-19.

Dr. Hinojosa defied the governor’s order requiring masks in schools, causing backlash from state leaders. He also faced backlash from some parents at fiery school board meetings, which has become more prevalent in other districts as well, over issues ranging from library book selections to Critical Race Theory. 

"In the urban centers, we are used to vitriol. But the suburbs aren’t used to it. People who are having options are exorcizing them," he said. "It’s sad to see because we believe in our parents and our parents believe in us. It’s becoming quite a distraction and, in my opinion, it’s a manufactured crisis."

Dr. Hinojosa says he isn’t retiring because of the recent pressures. But over the past few months, nearly a dozen additional superintendents across North Texas also announced they too are stepping down. 

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"I think this is a period that is very difficult, but I think it’s a phase. Good people will step and stop this nonsense in the future," he said.

Dr. Hinojosa highlighted some of his proudest moments, establishing a career partnership program for graduating seniors and Dallas ISD’s racial equity office. 

"I take it personally, and it bothers me because you can get a great education in Dallas. But you have to get over race and class," he said. "We still need to do more with African-American students. We have made progress."

But Dr. Hinojosa also admits his successor will be tested, especially setbacks from learning loss and teacher retention due to the pandemic. 

"This is my last one. But hopefully, I’ll be around somewhere and attend future ones," he said.

There is speculation Hinojosa will run for office after his departure in December. But all he will confirm for now is his focus on his final months. 

"Right now, I have to land this plane safely," he said.

As for an update on the hiring process, the school board hired two consulting firms to help select the next superintendent. 

RELATED: Dallas ISD Superintendent Michael Hinojosa confirms he's leaving role in December 2022