Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Broadie Antwan Wilson, schools chief in Oakland, Calif., expected to be nominated for D.C. schools chancellor - The Washington Post

Antwan Wilson, schools chief in Oakland, Calif., expected to be nominated for D.C. schools chancellor - The Washington Post:

Antwan Wilson, schools chief in Oakland, Calif., expected to be nominated for D.C. schools chancellor

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 D.C. Mayor Muriel E. Bowser is expected to name Antwan Wilson — the superintendent of schools in Oakland, Calif. — as her nominee to lead the District’s school system on Tuesday, according to city officials, betting that an outsider with fresh eyes will bring new ideas for addressing wide achievement gaps between the city’s needy and affluent children.

Bowser’s pick for schools chancellor is one of her most politically consequential decisions and signals a willingness to take a chance: The city’s school system has gained a reputation as one of the nation’s fastest improving over the past nine years, a period of sweeping and often controversial change ushered in first by chancellor Michelle Rhee and then continued by Rhee’s friend and onetime deputy, Kaya Henderson.
But Henderson stepped down earlier this year, and Bowser has decided against the continuity of an internal candidate, choosing instead to go with Wilson, who has built a reputation as an up-and-comer within the same education reform circles that are home to Rhee and Henderson.
The news of Wilson’s hire was first reported Monday night by NBC4. The D.C. Council must confirm his nomination to make it official.
An African American man, Wilson arrives at a time when Bowser and the school system are particularly focused on improving outcomes for young black men, whose test scores and graduation rates lag city averages.
Wilson, 44, has said he knows that schools can change the trajectory for poor children because he was one himself. He grew up with a single mother and a lot of instability, living in 15 homes and going to 10 schools between kindergarten and high school graduation.
He made it, he has said, with excellent teachers helping him navigate the path to and through college.
“Schools can save lives,” he said earlier this year in his state of the schools address for Oakland Unified School District. “They saved mine.”
Wilson began his career as a teacher in North Carolina and Kansas before landing in Denver for nearly a decade, first as principal and then as an assistant superintendent. He was credited with helping to turn around struggling schools, increase enrollment in Advanced Placement courses and boost high school graduation rates.
Wilson underwent leadership training at the Broad Academy, an initiative to train urban school superintendents funded by billionaire philanthropist and charter school supporter Eli Broad.
The Oakland school board hired Wilson in 2014 as the financially troubled district was emerging from a long period of state receivership. During his two and a half years there, graduation rates have risen and suspension rates have fallen.
But Wilson ran into a buzz saw of opposition as he pushed to create a more cooperative environment for Oakland’s traditional schools and its charter schools, which enroll about 25 percent of the city’s 48,000 public school students. His proposal for a common enrollment system — which he argued would simplify a chaotic enrollment process that was too onerous for Antwan Wilson, schools chief in Oakland, Calif., expected to be nominated for D.C. schools chancellor - The Washington Post:
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