Cook, Merritt

Members of the Frankston School Board will meet Wednesday in closed session to review applications and establish a timeline for replacing former Superintendent John Allen. Allen resigned amidst controversy in October, and board members previously have said they want to name a replacement before the 2020-2021 school year.

The special meeting will start at 6 p.m.

Assistant Superintendent Nicci Cook, acting as interim superintendent, declined to say, when asked by the Herald-Press, whether she will be a candidate for the superintendent's job. Cook, who joined the district in 2003, was appointed assistant superintendent in 2009.

In January, the school board voted to hire Arrow Educational Services to search for superintendent applicants. The Frankston Independent School District also retained Arrow for the search that resulted in Allen's appointment in 2016.

Allen's tenure was marked by controversy, after a high school principal and 30 employees resigned at the end of the 2017 school year. Some of them called Allen a tyrant.

A change agent, Allen had turned around failing urban schools in Houston. He argued his opponents were mostly a vocal minority of residents and employees who opposed change and his agenda of education reform.

In a separate action, board members appointed Brian Merritt to replace Hayley Frink to represent Place 5 on the Frankston school board. Frink resigned in December. Board members appointed Merritt after interviewing three candidates. An employee of Southside Bank in Tyler, Merritt has experience in management and finance.

A father of three students, Merritt advocates more parental involvement with school programs. He described himself as an involved parent and team builder.

Frink, the board's only woman during her tenure, served from 2013-2019. The next board member election will take place in May of 2021.

FISD enrolls 800 students in grades K-12 in northern Anderson and southern Henderson counties.

The Frankston school board will meet Monday, Feb. 17, at 6:30 p.m., in the Board of Trustees chamber.

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