According to The Dallas Morning News, Dr. James Whitfield filed as a Democrat to challenge Republican Pat Hardy to represent North Texas, according to state records. The District 11 seat, which includes parts of Tarrant, Parker and Dallas counties, helps shape what 5 million Texas public school students learn.
He is the second Democrat running for the state board of education and three Republicans, including the current board member.
Grapevine-Colleyville ISD says they put Whitfield on leave months before he resigned, citing insubordination, communication problems with colleagues and other factors.
Whitfield alleged it was the backlash from some parents and community members after he wrote a letter to parents about racial issues in the wake of George Floyd’s murder.
A former GCISD trustee candidate said Whitfield wanted to introduce critical race theory into the district, which the principal denied. The controversy stretched for months, sparking student walkouts in support of Whitfield, who is Black.
“I am not the CRT (Critical Race Theory) Boogeyman,” Whitfield wrote on Facebook this summer in a lengthy post defending himself. “I am the first African American to assume the role of Principal at my current school in its 25-year history, and I am keenly aware of how much fear this strikes in the hearts of a small minority who would much rather things go back to the way they used to be.”
The Fort Worth Star-Telegram first reported his candidacy. Also running as a Democrat is Luis Sifuentes, a former teacher working in human resources.
Days before he filed his state board candidacy, Whitfield posted a video on Facebook defending public educators facing political backlash over making schools more equitable and inclusive. He encouraged people to show up at school board meetings and elections.
“Please do everything in your power to protect public schools,” Whitfield said while wearing a T-shirt, reading, “Racist people suck.”