HPISD Superintendent’s Sudden Departure Questioned


Highland Park Independent School District | Image by HPISD

Questions are being raised about the announced “retirement” of Highland Park Independent School District’s (HPISD) superintendent, who had just a few months earlier secured a five-year extension to his contract.

Superintendent Tom Trigg was just one of five resignations that followed a scandal triggered by the discovery of sexually explicit images purportedly posted by an HPISD teacher under a pseudonym on social media.

At least one person believes that Trigg’s seemingly abrupt 180-degree career turn was prompted by the fiasco surrounding the teacher, who some district parents believed could pose a danger to students.

The Dallas Express spoke with local government transparency activist and Openrecords.org spokesman Russell Fish, who suggests the superintendent moved to resign because of the backlash.

“I cannot read his mind; however, he misled parents regarding a dangerously insane teacher,” claimed Fish. “We published the receipts, and he chose to bug out.”

The teacher resigned on September 9, 2022, according to The Epoch Times.

Within two weeks, HPISD’s chief of staff and director of communications, Jon Dahlander, abruptly resigned and took a position at Dallas Independent School District, a school system with its own troubled history regarding transparency.

Trigg subsequently announced his resignation at a school board meeting on October 11, 2022, having negotiated an exit agreement with HPISD, which stated:

“WHEREAS, it is strictly the voluntary act of Trigg to voluntarily resign his employment as an employee and as Superintendent of the District because Trigg believes it will be in his best interest and that of the District to voluntarily resign his position as an employee and as Superintendent of the District.”

The Dallas Express was present at the HPISD Board of Trustees meeting when Trigg informed the public he was going to resign.

“I do want to thank our students, our faculty, our staff, our parents, and our community for their continued support,” Trigg said. “This is an outstanding school district and will continue to be an outstanding school district.”

No explanation was given at the meeting for Trigg’s sudden resignation. Local media outlets reported the move quite plainly, some even describing it as a “retirement” despite Trigg’s recent five-year contract extension.

Trigg’s exit agreement went on to ensure the district would cover him in almost any potential lawsuit lodged against him having to do with any actions he took “within the scope of [his] employment with the District,” the principal exception being:

“… any causes of action where it is determined that Trigg committed a criminal act, official misconduct, or committed a willful or wrongful act or omission, or an act or omission constituting gross negligence, or acted in bad faith, with conscious indifference or reckless disregard.”

“I’m not an attorney, but his agreement appears to indicate an unusual obsession with being sued or possibly indicted over his recent behavior,” said Fish.

While at the October school board meeting, The Dallas Express asked a district spokesperson if Trigg’s decision had anything to do with the teacher whose social media posts prompted an uproar.

The spokesperson followed up in a subsequent email:

“In regards to your question, no, the two matters are unrelated.”

The Dallas Express recently followed up on the inquiry, reaching out to Superintendent Trigg to ask him why he would resign just months after negotiating a five-year extension to his contract and if his decision to leave had anything to do with the scandal in September.

A request for comment was also sent to HPISD Board President Sharpe and Trustee Stacy Kelly, both of whom just announced last month that they would not be seeking re-election in May when their current terms expire.

The Dallas Express asked whether last year’s fiasco informed their decision not to run and what the impact had been in terms of community trust in the district.

A spokesperson replied for all three, stating:

“In regard to your last question, no. These are personal decisions. To suggest otherwise would be inaccurate.”

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Sam Tamborello
Sam Tamborello
1 month ago

And so it appears there may be deeper issues at HPISD. Is this why the HPISD trustees and HYA have denied my access several times to tour the schools and speak with teachers, faculty, and students in regard to my interest in becoming the next HPISD superintendent? Follow my public figure page at https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100088347757185