Hal Harrell: Uvalde Schools Superintendent is Enjoying Retirement Today

As a documentary exploring the aftermath of the horrific May 24, 2022, Robb Elementary School mass shooting at the hands of 18-year-old Salvador Ramos, ABC’s ‘Print it Black’ is unlike any other. That’s because it incorporates not just archival footage but also exclusive interviews to really highlight the many likely individuals as well as departments additionally responsible for this utter tragedy. Amongst those to be specifically pinpointed was Uvalde Consolidated Independent School District Superintendent Hal Harrell, especially since many alleged he lacked the skills to manage such a crisis.

Who is Hal Harrell?

Hal Harrell was merely a young boy growing up in Uvalde, Texas, when he showcased a keen passion for his local district, which continued expanding as the years passed. The truth is this interest of his partly stemmed from the fact that his father served as a district school’s superintendent, driving the youngster to willingly spend most of his time in the area too. In fact, he only ever left for a relatively long period when he absolutely had to for his further education: a Bachelor’s in Economic and Urban Geography from the University of Texas in Austin, a Master’s in Education from Sul Ross State University in Alpine, as well as a Ph.D. in Educational Leadership from The University of Texas in San Antonio.

The details of Hal’s career trajectory are, unfortunately, a bit murky at the moment. Yet, we do know he served in the educational unit for around 27 years before ultimately following in his father’s footsteps. He actually evolved into Uvalde Consolidated Independent School District’s Superintendent in 2018 at the age of 55 with a newly minted doctoral degree, but alas, everything changed following May 2022. After all, many community members felt he should be held liable for their failure to adequately prepare for the mass school shooting, inadvertently resulting in him announcing his retirement on October 10, 2022.

In a candid since-privated post shared by Hal’s life partner Donna Goates Harrell’s Facebook page, he conceded, “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. 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… My heart was broken on May 24 and I will always pray for each precious life that was tragically taken as well as their families.” He’d also e-mailed his staff to inform them of his plan beforehand, saying, “I am in my 31st year in education, all served and dedicated to the students and families here in Uvalde.”

Where is Hal Harrell Now?

Since Hal Harrell had actively, unwaveringly served the Uvalde Consolidated Independent School District for 31 years by the time mid-2022 rolled around, his retirement was approved without any significant issues. The grievances against him filed by the mass shooting victims’ families were actually reviewed during this same three-hour closed board hearing on August 22, yet no actions against him were ever announced. Therefore, he walked away a free man and is now seemingly leading a quiet life in retirement, well away from the spotlight in Seguin, Texas, where he’s simply glad to be surrounded by loved ones at every step.

However, we should mention that Hal has since indicated the events of May 24, 2022, weren’t the sole reason he chose to leave his post early — he’d apparently been planning it for quite a while. “I feel guilty for saying I’m having a tough time [with all the prying eyes, scrutiny, and empty time]. Because I’ll never have it as tough as they [the families of the May 24 victims] had it that day,” he candidly told Uvalde Ledger News in October 2022. “I can’t complain about my horrible because in the back of your mind, you say ‘it’s not as horrible as somebody else who is living it.'” Yet now, it’s likely Hal Harrell’s happy just to spend quality time with family.

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