Grapevine-Colleyville school board member says former principal lost job because of activism

A newly elected Grapevine-Colleyville school board member recently discussed reading the personnel file of former Colleyville High School principal James Whitfield, saying his activism was the “straw that broke the camel’s back ... that got him fired.”

Tammy Nakamura made the comments during a school board panel discussion June 26 in Coppell. The event was sponsored by the Republican National Committee.

A video clip of Nakamura’s statements about Whitfield was posted in a Facebook group, Colleyville Citizens for Accountability.

Whitfield, who was accused of promoting critical race theory, remains on administrative leave until his resignation takes effect next year as part of a settlement agreement with the school district.

As part of the settlement, Whitfield and the district agreed to resolve their disputes and not make any additional public statements.

Nakamura did not return a phone call and text message seeking comment.

In the short video clip, Nakamura said, “We found out that he’s a total activist, and of course, we were branded and put on national television just like Southlake.”

Whitfield and his attorney, David Henderson, did not return text messages and voicemails seeking comment.

Grapevine-Colleyville officials declined to comment, stating that the district and Whitfield issued a joint statement on Nov. 8.

During the panel discussion, Nakamura said that she read Whitfield’s personnel file the previous week.

She described a three-page letter that Whitfield sent to parents. She did not describe the specific contents of the letter.

“That’s the straw that broke the camel’s back you’d want to say that got him fired,” Nakamura told the panel.

She said someone got up at a school board meeting, calling for Whitfield to resign based on open records requests “showing that he was pushing a movement. ...”

“But there is absolute proof of what he was trying to do,” she said.

Nakamura told the audience that people have to “stand up” to those pushing an agenda.

She also stated that while most teachers are not pushing political agendas and that they are stretched thin, there are a few who must be removed from the classroom.

“We cannot have teachers such as these in our schools because they are just poison, and they’re taking our schools down,” she said.

Nakamura served for six years on the Colleyville City Council before she was elected in May to her first school board term. Nakamura, along with candidates from Carroll and Keller, received contributions from the Grapevine-based Patriot Mobile, a cellphone company that calls itself the “only Christian conservative wireless provider.”

Whitfield became principal at Colleyville Heritage in 2020 and was soon called out at a school board meeting by a former candidate, Stetson Clark, who accused him of promoting critical race theory, a graduate-level study that is not taught in public schools.

Whitfield wrote a lengthy Facebook post, describing how he faced “racial attacks” and kept quiet to protect his family.

He described being asked to remove photos of he and his wife, who is white, celebrating their anniversary on a beach in Mexico.

Whitfield said school officials were using his race as reasons for not renewing his contract, but school officials said the nonrenewal notice had nothing to do with race or the photos.

During the Sept. 20 board meeting, Superintendent Robin Ryan and the district’s human resources director outlined some of the reasons why Whitfield’s contract would not be renewed, including email communications with a party from outside of the school district and accusations of hiding public records from discovery by deleting them from sent items and trash folders.

Whitfield remains on paid administrative leave until Aug. 15, 2023, when his resignation takes effect.