South San ISD interim superintendent sets goals on improving academics, finances and morale

The new South San Independent School District interim superintendent says his plan is to improve the district in various ways amid poor academic performance and other constraints it’s facing.

Last year, South San ISD Superintendent Marc Puig was placed on paid administrative leave at the end of the fall semester. Henry Yzaguirre was hired as interim superintendent in December 2021.

Yzaguirre said he is familiar with the district, having worked for it before.

“This is actually my third time coming to the district, so I know the dynamics. I know the needs,” he said.

Yzaguirre started the job at a time when the district has been facing an investigation by the Texas Education Agency. A state monitor was put in place at the start of the semester, and the board of trustees launched an investigation after Puig made comments to a board member before a closed board meeting dealing with staff hiring.

Yzaguirre says his focus is on fixing the district’s low morale, poor academic performance, dropping enrollment and financial constraints.

“We definitely have a need for some stability for unification. But, again, my role here is to hopefully bring that together, to focus on why we are here, to focus on our kids and our campuses,” he said.

Enrollment has declined by more than 1,400 students in the past three years, costing the district more than $9.3 million in state funding.

Puig is still receiving payment as part of his contract while the investigation gets underway. And Yzaguirre is getting paid nearly $900 a day, and his contract ends June 30, 2022.

Puig could not be reached for comment prior to publishing this story.