Donna Independent School District superintendent Hafedh Azaiez was named the lone finalist for the same post with Round Rock ISD on Friday, ending a tenure at the Mid-Valley district that was without the kind of turmoil that plagued previous administrations.
In a letter posted on Donna ISD’s social media, Azaiez described the news as bittersweet.
“I’m thrilled about this new opportunity where I will oversee a district with an enrollment of close to 50,000 students,” he wrote. “This opportunity will also bring me closer to my family. While I’m super excited to move forward, I’m also sad because Donna ISD has been my home for the past three years.”
Round Rock is in Williamson County, just north of Austin on I-35.
Azaiez’s letter doesn’t specify when he’ll depart for the new job. A release from Round Rock ISD says their board will schedule an official vote on the superintendent’s contract in June, following a required 21-day waiting period.
“As I reflect on my time here, I specifically remember when I arrived in 2018 and how I was welcomed with open arms,” Azaiez wrote. “Soon after, we began our journey together making many significant improvements. Please know that my last three years as your leader have been incredible and that Donna ISD will always have a special place in my heart.”
When Azaiez joined Donna ISD just under three years ago he took command of a district that had been riven by years worth of scandal that included bribery charges, a state investigation and a trustee resignation.
Azaiez’s predecessors — Jesus Reyna and Fernando Castillo — both resigned, Reyna after being charged with bribery and retaliation charges he was later no-billed for and Castillo after a forensic audit found high level administrators he’d appointed lacked qualifications to do their jobs.
The last three years have been comparatively quiet. The Donna transplant has largely managed to avoid public scandals, for himself and the district.
In fact, Azaiez has earned the district and himself plaudits during his tenure. He developed a five-year strategic plan for Donna ISD, steered the district through the pandemic and was named representative for Region One on the TASA’s Executive Committee earlier this year.
A multi-million dollar Wi-Fi tower project designed to bring internet access to thousands of the district’s students that Azaiez championed last year also earned Donna ISD widespread attention.
Delays in that project have earned it and Azaiez some board criticism in recent months, often from former superintendent and freshman board trustee Fernando Castillo.