The Carrollton-Farmers Branch Independent School District’s (CFBISD) school board went public on Tuesday with its decision to name Wendy Eldredge, current superintendent at Crandall Independent School District, the sole finalist for the same position at CFBISD.
The vote was unanimous, beginning a 21-day state-mandated waiting period at the end of which the Board of Trustees can officially hire Eldredge to lead the district, according to WFAA.
“We are very excited about welcoming Dr. Eldredge to CFBISD and believe her background and experience will be a major asset as we continue to work together as a school district and community to protect our children,” stated Board President Les Black in an email to The Dallas Express.
Eldredge’s selection as lone finalist follows months of fear and tragedy at the district, during which almost a dozen fentanyl overdoses by students were documented, resulting in at least three confirmed deaths, as previously reported in The Dallas Express.
A packed community meeting was recently held in a CFBISD building, attended by The Dallas Express, during which local city leaders and CFBISD’s Board of Trustees heard from concerned parents and community members like Christina Barbee, who claimed there had been a “significant lack of communication from the district” on the issue.
The Dallas Express asked Black if the recent events factored into the board’s decision to pick Eldredge.
“The Board of Trustees is committed to doing everything within our power to protect our students from the threat of fentanyl and other dangerous drugs. This issue was very much on our minds collectively during the superintendent search process,” Black responded.
For her part, Eldredge expressed her eagerness to get to work on the problem, telling The Dallas Express, “When I come aboard sometime in the next few weeks, I will take a comprehensive look at everything CFBISD has to offer, including safety and security.”
Eldredge started her career in education as a teacher in the Dallas Independent School District (DISD). She went on to serve as a principal at different campuses in North Texas, followed by a stint as Garland Independent School District’s assistant superintendent of safety and operations, before becoming superintendent in Crandall, according to a CFBISD news release.
She will be inheriting a district with varying student achievement outcomes. While CFBISD managed to graduate 93.7% of its class of 2022 in four years (above the statewide average of 90%), only 44% of its students scored at grade level on last school year’s STAAR exams, according to the Texas Education Agency’s latest accountability report.
Still, the district seems to be in better shape than DISD, where Eldredge got her start. Almost 20% of DISD’s class of 2022 did not graduate in four years, and only 41% of its students scored at grade level on the STAAR exams.