Optimistic about Antwan Wilson becoming DCPS Chancellor

The Washington Post’s Alejandra Matos and Perry Stein have an article today that makes me highly optimistic regarding Mayor Bowser’s hiring of Antwan Wilson to be the next Chancellor of DCPS.  Let me point out the reasons for my opinion.

First, consider his words.  The story begins with this quotation from Mr. Wilson.  “I run to places where I believe I am going to be most needed. . . It’s 100 percent possible to educate every child.  Sometimes people say that’s unrealistic, but I just don’t believe that.”

This is exactly what we need to hear from the person that will replace Kaya Henderson.  Mr. Wilson states that his top priority in his new job will be closing the academic achievement gap, something that I’ve argued for years should be our city’s number one goal.

Then there is his positive attitude toward charter schools.  In the Post piece Mr. Wilson remarks that he was not looking to leave his current position in Oakland, California but the fact that D.C. “already has a working relationship with a robust charter sector” made the possibility of a new job “compelling.”

In Oakland the new Chancellor sought to turnaround his system’s five most under performing schools.  To accomplish this feat he sought advice from various stakeholders that included charters.

The move apparently upset the community and it was claimed that Mr. Wilson was attempting to substitute charters for traditional schools.  This accusation was repeated when he tried to implement a common lottery, something we already have in place here.

The Post reporters also reveal that during his decade in Denver Mr. Wilson became principle for three years of one of the toughest high schools in the regular school system.  Then he supported dismantling the facility and turning it into three different institutions.

Mr, Wilson then moved on to administering all high schools for Denver Public Schools.  The Post comments that he is “credited with boosting high school graduation rates, redesigning the system’s alternative schools and increasing enrollment in Advanced Placement courses.”

Denver school Superintendent Tom Boasberg asserted that he and Mr. Wilson often tried to mimic public school reform progress in the nation’s capital.

“We owe a tremendous amount to him.” Mr. Boasberg remarked.  Let’s sincerely hope that he has similar success in his new home town.

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