Hal Harrell, superintendent of the Uvalde Consolidated Independent School District, announced his retirement Monday, according to a Facebook post by his wife, Donna Goates Harrell.
“I am truly grateful for your support and well wishes. My decision to retire has not been made lightly and was made after much prayer and discernment,” the post read. “My wife and I love you all and this community that we both grew up in, and therefore the decision was a difficult one for us.”
Harrell will remain throughout the year until a new superintendent is named, the post said. The school board was holding a meeting Monday night.
Before the meeting Harrell was greeted and hugged by a throng of people. He responded to CNN questions by saying, “I think I’m going to enjoy this right now, thank you.” When pressed further by CNN, Harrell said, “I’m going to visit (with people).”
During the meeting the board went into closed session. According to a meeting agenda part of the closed session was for an “attorney consultation regarding legal issues related to Superintendent retirement and transition.”
Board members were then slated to resume the public part of the meeting and “take possible action regarding Superintendent retirement,” it added.
The massacre left 19 children and two teachers dead. Months later, new details are still emerging about the school district’s response to the shooting.
“My heart was broken on May 24th and I will always pray for each precious life that was tragically taken as well as their families,” the Facebook post said.
According to the post, the superintendent asked his wife “to post this message since he doesn’t have Facebook.”
Last week, Harrell emailed staff about his intention to retire.
“I am in my 31st year in education, all served and dedicated to the students and families here in Uvalde,” Harrell wrote.
That message came hours after the school district announced it was suspending operations of its police force and placing a lieutenant and another top school official on leave as part of its investigation.
The email also came after CNN reported the Uvalde school district had recently hired Crimson Elizondo, a former Texas Department of Public Safety trooper under investigation for her response to the massacre.
Elizondo arrived minutes after the shooting started and was heard on body-worn camera video saying she would have responded differently had her own son been inside the school.
“If my son had been in there, I would not have been outside,” she told another officer. “I promise you that.”
The school district apologized to the victims’ families and the Uvalde community “for the pain that this revelation has caused,” the district said last week. “Ms. Elizondo’s statement in the audio is not consistent with the District’s expectations.”
Elizondo has been fired from the school district and declined to speak with CNN.