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Round Rock ISD board votes to suspend superintendent

The Texas Education Agency (TEA) previously recommended that Superintendent Dr. Hafedh Azaiez be placed on administrative leave.

ROUND ROCK, Texas — The Round Rock ISD Board of Trustees voted to place the district's superintendent on paid administrative leave Thursday night during the board's second meeting regarding allegations against the superintendent. 

The decision was made after a monitor with the Texas Education Agency (TEA) sent a memo to RRISD's board president recommending that the board place Superintendent Dr. Hafedh Azaiez on paid administrative leave pending the outcome of an investigation regarding "the underlying conduct found in a protective order issued by the Travis County District Court."

The December memo also recommended that the board hire an external investigator to conduct an investigation into Azaiez's conduct. At Thursday night's meeting, the board approved hiring an external investigator to examine the allegations against Azaiez.

Dr. Daniel Presley was appointed by the board to serve as acting superintendent, a position Presley served prior to Azaiez's arrival.

Azaiez is reportedly facing accusations of assault and of using school board police, both in RRISD and in his former position at Donna ISD, to silence his critics. KVUE has reached out to the Travis County Sheriff's Office regarding the reported accusations and will update this story when more information is available.

Azaiez's attorney, Mary Goodrich Nix, issued the following statement on Jan. 6:

“As is his duty, Dr. Azaiez will honor and follow the directive of the Board of Trustees of the Round Rock ISD. He very much looks forward to his return from administrative leave to continue his service as Superintendent to the Round Rock ISD community.”

Some of those who were at the meeting on Jan. 6, shared their opinions on how they think the board should handle this. 

"Everything's alleged. Everything that's come out as far as evidence is concerned has come up to be either, one, false, or two, unsubstantiated completely," said Chuy Zarate, a parent of several RRISD students. "There's no, there's nothing that makes me think that this man did anything more than having an affair."

"If the accusations are true, you got to resign and I don't know what the truth is, and so I'm here to ask for that," said Don Zimmerman. "You know, either refute the charges or investigate it. Find out if it's true or not. Don't leave it hanging there."

RRISD students returned from winter break on Wednesday, Jan. 5.

Azaiez was named the superintendent of RRISD in June 2021.

Azaiez's attorney issued this statement on Jan. 5:

I am legal counsel to Dr. Hafedh Azaiez, Superintendent of Round Rock ISD. I am writing to provide information pertaining to Monday’s meeting of the Round Rock ISD Board of Trustees and regarding tomorrow’s scheduled meeting of the Board.

Succinctly stated, the FACTS negated the need for Monday’s Board meeting and the meeting scheduled for tomorrow, Thursday, January 6, 2022.

As counsel for Dr. Azaiez, I am appalled that the TEA and the Round Rock ISD Board of Trustees would allow themselves to be hijacked, coerced, and forced by two renegade members of the Round Rock ISD Board to pursue the ouster of Dr. Azaiez based upon an alleged assault that, in their heart of hearts, each member of the Board knows never occurred.

Succinctly stated, as counsel for Dr. Azaiez, we have objective evidence, which we believe to be incontrovertible, demonstrating that the alleged assault, which is the genesis of this controversy, did not occur.

Further, the following are FACTS about which the Board is aware, and yet actively refuses to acknowledge: 

  • FACT ‐ The Travis County Court NEVER issued any findings of an assault in the Temporary Ex Parte Protective Order, which are routinely issued by the Court based solely on the complainant’s allegations, without the knowledge or the ability of the accused person – in this instance, Dr. Azaiez – to refute the allegations; 
  • FACT ‐ The Temporary Ex Parte Protective Order was extinguished in mid‐ December. January 5, 2022 Page 2 of 2 FACT  ‐  The personal dispute between Dr. Azaiez and the third‐party complainant was amicably resolved and there is a confidential settlement agreement.
  • FACT  ‐ An agreed‐upon civil restraining order was entered into by and between Dr. Azaiez and the complainant; 
  • FACT ‐ With the settlement between Dr. Azaiez and the complainant, this matter has been resolved.
  • FACT  ‐ Prior to the TEA monitor’s intervention, the TEA commenced an investigation of the alleged assault in September 2021.
  • FACT – In September 2021, the TEA alerted the Round Rock ISD Board of Trustees of the investigation, and the Board decided to let the TEA’s investigation proceed and not take any action.
  • FACT – The TEA’s alleged assault investigation commenced four (4) months ago in September 2021 and is ongoing. In conclusion, there is no need for the Round Rock ISD, at the urging of the TEA, to waste taxpayer dollars to conduct a duplicative investigation of an alleged assault about which the TEA has been investigating since September 2021.

Best regards,

Mary Goodrich Nix

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