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Former CAST Tech Principal Sues SAISD, New Principal

Paul Flahive | Texas Public Radio
Fox Tech's shop buildings would be transformed to create CAST Tech, opening next week.

Kelly Isbell, the former principal of San Antonio Independent School District's newest technology school is suing the district and others for firing her. The lawsuit filed Tuesday comes just six days before the school is scheduled to open the doors for its inaugural class.

Kelly Isbell was hired to open the first Centers for Applied Science and Technology, or CAST Tech. Her contract was not renewed in May, which surprised many in San Antonio's technology industry. 

Filed Tuesday afternoon, the lawsuit names SAISD, CAST Tech's new principal Melissa Alcala and Jeanne Russell of Mission Street Consulting. It alleges that Russell and Alcala conspired to oust Isbell from her position. Isbell seeks damages in the amount of $1 million from Russell and Alcala.

Isbell was put on administrative leave on April 21, the same day the job was posted on the district website. The application period closed the same day the school board voted to not renew Isbell's contract.

Isbell's attorney Terry Gorman says the timing doesn't work. 

"With the applications already being closed and then Ms. Alcala being announced as the new replacement a mere days later, again that indicates this was absolutely preplanned and a conspiracy," says Gorman.

Russell owns Mission street consulting with her husband former Texas State Rep. Mike Villareal. Mission Street Consulting lists CAST Tech and CAST Tech corporate supporter H-E-B as clients on its website.

Melissa Alcala came to CAST Tech from North East ISD's STEM Academy.

Both Russell and SAISD say they haven't received the lawsuit and can't comment.  

Paul Flahive can be reached at Paul@tpr.org