Terry B. Grier, Ed.D., retired as the Superintendent of Houston Independent School District in 2015, after a distinguished career. Dr. Grier’s goal as superintendent is to make HISD the best public school district in the nation. Before coming to Houston, Dr. Grier served as the superintendent of the San Diego Unified School District for eighteen months and superintendent of the Guilford County Schools in Greensboro, North Carolina for almost eight years. While in San Diego, Dr. Grier led a school system that saw student test scores improve dramatically in a year when the district budget was cut by $200 million, opened Southern California’s first virtual online high school, increased the number of Advanced Placement exams taken by minority high-school students by 12.5 percent, passed a $2.1-billion school construction/renovation bond package with 69 percent voter approval, and improved student performance on the California Standards Tests to an all-time district high, with scores rising more in one year than in the three previous years combined. Under his leadership, Guilford County cut dropout rates in half, more than doubled the college scholarships available to high-school seniors, tripled minority-student enrollment in Advanced Placement classes, and increased the high-school graduation rate to 80 percent.
Dr. Grier is especially well-regarded for his work in reducing high-school dropout rates with innovative programs for at-risk students. Among them are special schools that boast classes of no more than 15 students and evening schools for working students. These successful programs have been implemented by several other North Carolina school districts.To reduce the dropout rate in HISD, Dr. Grier launched the Online Credit-Recovery Initiative. This program created Grad Labs with special software for online credit recovery in the district’s large, traditional high schools, and graduation coaches were placed at each of HISD’s 27 comprehensive high schools to provide students with personalized opportunities to catch up on course credits needed to graduate. He also opened the High School Ahead Academy to serve 450 over-age middle-school students who are two or more years behind in school by speeding up their readiness for high school through immersion in core academic subjects, with a primary focus on math and English language arts.
Dr. Grier is also committed to placing an effective teacher in every HISD classroom and an exemplary principal in every school. He redesigned the district’s process for selecting teachers and principals to identify individuals who embrace the values, beliefs, and goals that define HISD. He also reorganized the district’s senior staff and organizational structure for maximum efficiency and effectiveness in supporting schools with services and resources. Selected on the basis of their knowledge and experience, three chief school officers and 22 school-improvement officers aligned with grade levels (elementary, middle, and high) help principals create high-quality instructional teams and programs focused on student academic growth, to establish and achieve bold and measurable goals, and to work with their school communities.
Dr. Grier has received numerous awards in recognition of his accomplished leadership, including the North Carolina Association of School Administrators and the North Carolina School Boards Association’s 2008 North Carolina Superintendent of the Year Award, the American Association of School Administrators’ Effie H. Jones Humanitarian Award, the North Carolina Association of Supervision and Curriculum Development’s Distinguished Educator Award, and the Congressional Black Caucus’s ET3 Tech Champion Award.
Dr. Grier earned his bachelor’s and master’s degrees from East Carolina University and his doctorate in education from Vanderbilt University.