The D.C. Council on Tuesday unanimously confirmed Antwan Wilson as the chancellor of D.C. Public Schools.
Council members approved Wilson’s appointment without any discussion, and the only council member who spoke was David Grosso, who leads the education committee. Grosso highlighted Wilson’s experience in other major school systems and praised Wilson’s commitment to improving D.C. schools.
Wilson, who most recently served as the superintendent at Oakland Unified School District in California, is scheduled to take over the D.C. school system on February 1.
Some parents and teachers said they look forward to working with Wilson to improve academic achievement and boost enrollment in the city’s public schools. Even some who raised concerns about Wilson’s nomination say they look forward to working with him.
In a telephone interview with The Washington Post from Oakland, Wilson said he spent a lot of time meeting with council members privately ahead of the vote and that he is “appreciative of the council members for their confirmation vote and excited about the work we are going to do in D.C.”
Wilson is expected to earn an annual salary of $280,000, a $14,000 signing bonus and the potential for a performance bonus of 10 percent — or $28,000 — the following school year.
Cathy Reilly, executive director of the Senior High Alliance of Parents, Principals and Educators, is hopeful that Wilson will work with parents and community members to attract more families into D.C. schools. She and other parents have asked Mayor Muriel E. Bowser to include in Wilson’s contract a requirement to increase enrollment in D.C. schools by 3 percent each year.
“I hope he sees his job as one that he can only do if he works closely with the people that are here, that have been here, and are invested in the schools,” Reilly said.
Monica Brokenborough, a music and choir teacher at Ballou Senior High School, said she will support Wilson, despite her objections to how the search process for the new chancellor was handled. Brokenborough, who is involved in the teacher’s union, believes the search was rushed and wanted the mayor to vet more candidates.
But now Brokenborough said it’s time to focus on the future.
“I hope he is coming here with good intentions to make the schools better,” Brokenborough said.
She wants Wilson to work with the union to reduce teacher turnover in schools. Brokenborough said a teacher at Ballou submitted a letter of resignation this week, leaving students with a substitute teacher until that position is filled. Brokenborough said there are currently several teacher vacancies at Ballou.
“These students are used to seeing people come and go out of their lives on a daily basis,” she said. “They don’t need to see the same thing at a school.”
Wilson said he will prioritize working with the teachers union leadership to pass a new contract and to improve working conditions.
“I couldn’t be more excited to come into the district and collaborate with the teachers there on matters that are important to them,” Wilson said. “Teachers are tremendously important to the success of the students and the district.”