WASHINGTON - D.C. Public Schools Chancellor Antwan Wilson has resigned amid mounting pressure to step down following a school lottery scandal.
At a press conference on Tuesday, Mayor Muriel Bowser said that she has accepted Wilson's resignation.
"After listening to community members, families, stakeholders and officials, it became very clear to me over the last several days that Chancellor Wilson would be unable to successfully lead the schools having not been able to regain the community's trust," said Bowser. "I believe today that stability and continuity in our system is very important, but in order for that to be effective, a leader has to have the trust of the people he manages and the people he leads, and that is how we ended up here today."
Here is the resignation letter pic.twitter.com/BXnMeIje0e— Matt Ackland (@mattacklandfox5) February 20, 2018
Dr. Amanda Alexander, the chief of elementary schools, has been named interim chancellor. Mayor Bowser called Alexander a "seasoned educator and veteran of D.C. Public Schools." Dr. Alexander joined the school system in 1998 as a kindergarten teacher.
"My aim really is to just make sure that we finish the year strong," Alexander said. "We have got four months of school left and I want to make sure that every day counts for our students, teachers and parents."
Bowser released a formal statement online saying she was "deeply disappointed by Antwan Wilson’s actions."
I was deeply disappointed by Antwan Wilson’s actions and I have accepted his resignation. There are too many tough decisions ahead of us and we must move forward. In the interim, I have appointed the Chief of the Office of Elementary Schools, Dr. Amanda Alexander, as Chancellor. pic.twitter.com/FF0MwmOlSR— Mayor Muriel Bowser (@MayorBowser) February 20, 2018
"At DCPS, we have had less change than most urban school districts," the mayor said. "In the last ten years, we have had three chancellors -- three amazing people were recruited to our system. I don't think you can find that kind of accountability in most urban school districts. So while I expected Chancellor Wilson's tenure to be longer, we are still working with one of the best systems anywhere in our nation."
Several D.C. council members called for Wilson's resignation over the weekend after it was revealed that Wilson bypassed the District's school lottery system to secure a transfer for his own child to a highly sought-after educational institution.
Councilmembers Kenyan McDuffie, Elissa Silverman, Charles Allen, Mary Cheh, Robert White and Vincent Gray all called for Wilson to step down.
"Stability and continuity in our system is very important. But in order for that to be effective, a leader has to have the trust of the people he manages and the people he leads," said Bowser in her address on Wilson's resignation Tuesday evening.
"I think the special treatment was indefensible," said D.C. Council Chairman Phil Mendelson. "That is really what it comes down to -- it's indefensible."
With the help of deputy mayor of education Jennifer Niles, Wilson was able to get his daughter moved to Woodrow Wilson High School from Dunbar High School. There are currently 706 students on the wait list to get into Wilson High School.
Bowser accepted Niles' resignation last Friday.
Wilson issued an apology letter to the D.C. Public Schools community on Friday, saying "my decision was wrong and I take full responsibility for my mistake. While I understand that many of you will be angered and disappointed by my actions, I'm here today to apologize and ask for your forgiveness."
Letter from Chancellor Antwan Wilson pic.twitter.com/N16lRycqfM— Matt Ackland (@mattacklandfox5) February 16, 2018
"My daughter was struggling socially and emotionally, engaging in behavior we had never seen before, certainly affecting her health," said Wilson in an interview with FOX 5 on Monday.
"Not eating, not coming out of her room and expressing real anxiety around going to school. I want folks to understand that as a parent, I certainly had tunnel vision, and as a chancellor, my focus was really trying to make sure that my wife was able to get the help she needed to transfer our daughter and to do it in a way that we were trying to do it correctly. It's clear we got it wrong."
FOX 5 asked Wilson on Monday if he would resign if Mayor Bowser asked him to step down from the position, but he did not answer the question directly.
Wilson was superintendent for the Oakland Unified School District in California before coming to D.C. in Feb. 2017.
Bowser said they are negotiating a severance package for the former chancellor.