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Baltimore Co. Schools Superintendent at first board meeting after announcing departure

WBFF Baltimore 1/25/2023 Keith Daniels
© Provided by WBFF Baltimore

Baltimore County's public school board met Tuesday for the first time since superintendent Dr. Darryl Williams said he does not want a new contract.  That decision comes as he faced criticism over declining student performance and numerous other issues.

Williams announced Monday that he will not seek a new contract, deciding instead, to leave.

Reaction to that decision came Tuesday at the board meeting during public comments.

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"Dr. Williams you have become a friend and ally to ASFME and we appreciate all that you have done," said John H. Clark a county school bus driver and member of AFSCME Local 434.

"I'm equally saddened to learn that Dr. Williams has decided to leave Baltimore County," said Joe Coughlin of Education Support Professionals of Baltimore County.

"To be quite honest I am not sorry to see (Williams) go.  I do wish you luck," said another speaker.

Williams' announcement comes after not one, not two, but three Baltimore County school advocate groups called for the board to replace him.

But the superintendent quits on his own after a four-year run and a laundry list of controversies.

Some observers, including Richard Vatz, Ph.D., professor of rhetoric at Towson University, believe the power of pressure--the rhetoric from Willams' opponents, including parent groups not happy with student performance, and the growing concern over unruly behavior of students in schools, may have influenced his decision to depart.

"Parents have realized, perhaps beginning a couple of years ago with Covid, that they have the power to stand up to some of the crazy policies that are happening in public schools and they're going to say that we're not going to stand for this anymore," said Vatz.

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Among those groups critical of Williams, the Randallstown NAACP.  Its president, Ryan Coleman, cites ongoing discipline issues and drops in student achievement.

"We’re having schools where, you know, 90% of the children can't read can't do basic math.  What's their you know, what's their future gonna be like," said Coleman.

But at the board meeting continued support for the superintendent from the Baltimore County NAACP.

"He's been a partner educator and a supreme educator.  The Baltimore County branch of the NAACP and we are not the Randallstown branch and we do not agree with them.  They only represent a small segment of the county," said Marietta English, Chair of the Baltimore County NAACP.

Dr. Williams' term ends in June.

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