Wednesday is the final opportunity for parents to meet the new Houston ISD superintendent before the school year begins.

The last of several family meetings this summer comes after HISD said it was seeking a waiver that would allow the district to hire people to fill teaching roles that don’t have teaching certifications.

Newly-appointed Superintendent Mike Miles spoke with parents at Stevenson Middle School on Tuesday night.

He did not specifically address the plan to hire people without teaching certificates, but he did talk about the recent shortage of teachers and teachers who have left the district.

The focus of Tuesday’s meeting was to tell parents about the changes coming to HISD since the state took over the district, including plans to improve struggling schools.

Miles said over the last two years, a significant number of educators have left the district.

Despite the fact that more than 2,000 teachers and 14 principals have left HISD over the last two years, Miles said the school year will start with fewer vacancies than in years past. He said the perception of the district not being fully-staffed is wrong.

“Despite the warnings of mass exodus, we won’t be able to fill the schools — we have. We are also well below last year’s vacancy list of 644. That was the school year, last year, started with 644 teacher vacancies. Well, it’s not that this year. It is going to be much lower than that,” Miles said.

Filling the teacher gap is one of the reasons why the district now plans to hire people without certificates to teach.

During the meeting, he was also asked about HISD’s controversial plan to turn libraries at some campuses into “Team Centers.”

“It would be nice to really see what goes on in the Team Center, to really understand the LSAE model. Because, if you think there is a busy work packet, you don’t know the model. If you think they don’t read a lot in the Team Center, you don’t know the model. If you think books only exist on library shelves, you don’t know the model. So, I would suggest you find out more about it before you criticize it,” Miles said.

As for uncertified teachers, the Texas Education Agency will have to approve waivers for those without certificates.

The final informal meeting with Miles will be held at Attucks Middle School from 6 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. on Wednesday.

You can register to attend the event via this HISD form. Parents can also submit questions for the meeting on HISD’s website.

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