KIRBYVILLE, Texas — A controversial Southeast Texas school superintendent has been allowed to retire early from his job.
Members of the Kirbyville CISD board quickly voted to let Dr. Tommy Wallis step down.
Following a 37-minute executive session, it took about five minutes for the school board to grant Wallis his retirement.
The school board approved a retirement agreement for Wallis but the district didn't disclose details.
Afterward, Wallis nearly sprinted out of the door along with all of the school board members.
"Nice try," Wallis replied when asked for comment by the media before racing away in an SUV.
It's a departure that's cloaked in secrecy as details of superintendent Dr. Tommy Wallis' retirement are few and far between.
"It's going to come out eventually because it's a matter of public records," said Kirbyville resident, Mark Meredith.
"I was surprised that he retired with a year left on his contract and I was even more surprised the way they all left at the end," Meredith said.
It's unclear if Wallis walked away with any money on Thursday or even when his last day will be.
"He's quitting in the middle of his obligation, if he's got a pension coming from the state from his teacher's retirement, I'm more proud for him," said Meredith. "But, if he is leaving with money in his pockets from the district...he shouldn't be."
Wallis, Kirbyville CISD, and Bryan ISD are still facing a wrongful death suit, filed by Tammy Reeves, the wife of Dennis Reeves, a former Kirbyville CISD principal who committed suicide in 2017.
The suit alleges that Wallis helped contribute to Reeves' suicide, after Wallis asked the principal to resign in May 2017 due to an alleged extramarital affair. It also suggests that Bryan ISD provided "public cover" of Wallis' supposed wrongdoings while superintendent there, and thus did not arm Kirbyville CISD with adequate knowledge before hiring him.
In a statement when the suit was filed, Bryan ISD said it "denies all allegations of wrongdoing referenced in the lawsuit that was recently reported on in the local media."
Reeves' widow filed the lawsuit against Dr. Wallis stating that he and others contributed to the her husband's death.
Even with the lawsuit, Meredith believes the district should be transparent.
"They should have said tonight what he was doing, I mean it's a matter of public records, tax dollars," said Meredith. "So if they are spending tax dollars then they should've spoke out about it tonight. they made a decision, they accepted it so it must all be said and done, why not tell everyone?"
The school board did not say who will take over as Kirbyville's superintendent.