Baltimore County Public Schools (BCPS) Superintendent Darryl Williams announced on Jan. 23 that he will not seek an additional four-year contract.
The decision came shortly after numerous Baltimore County-based organizations and groups, including the Baltimore County Parent and Student Coalition (BCPASC) and Randallstown NAACP, asked the Board of Education to launch a nationwide search for a new superintendent.
Among BCPASC’s most outspoken members are Mary Taylor and Darren Badillo. The coalition recently sent a letter of no-confidence to the Board of Education, county council and county executive’s office, according to Taylor.
“The community has come together to express our desire for a better school system for the children of Baltimore County,” Taylor said in a recent social media post. “We look forward to the process of searching for a highly qualified leader who can lead a large and diverse school system in a more positive direction with safety and academics as a priority.”
In the BOE’s most recent meeting on the evening of Jan. 24, school board members conducted a work session on the superintendent’s fiscal year 2024 operating budget proposal. The deadline for Williams to express to the BOE whether he wanted to pursue a contract extension would have been Feb. 1, and the school board’s deadline to offer him a new contract would have been March 1.
Williams’ contract is set to expire June 30. Since becoming the school system’s top leader in 2019, Williams’ was faced with a number of challenges over the course of his short tenure — from the difficulties resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic, to a ransomware attack, to staff shortages, among several others.
The decision came after careful consideration and deliberation with family members, Williams highlighted.
“It has been an honor to serve as superintendent of Baltimore County Public Schools, and I thank the Board of Education of Baltimore County for the opportunity to lead this incredible system,” Williams said in a letter to the public.
“I am very proud of the work we have done together to raise the bar, close gaps and prepare our students to thrive in their future, despite the many challenges our system has faced. I am very grateful for Team BCPS teachers and staff who strive to provide our students with a world-class education; for our students whose unique lived experiences inspire and encourage me; and for our families and communities that partner with us to ensure our students can meet their highest potential.”
Baltimore County Executive Johnny Olszewski released a statement following Williams’ announcement not to seek an additional term.
“As a BCPS parent, former teacher, and County Executive, public education will always remain my top priority. I thank Superintendent Williams for his years of service and wish him well in his future endeavors,” Olszewski said.
“I trust that the Board of Education will conduct an exhaustive search to identify a visionary, inclusive, and results-driven leader to help ensure stronger futures for all our kids—they deserve nothing less. In the years ahead, we look forward to continuing building a collaborative relationship with BCPS leadership so that we can tackle our shared challenges and provide a world class education for every student across Baltimore County.”
While Williams has faced harsh opposition, he has also received unwavering support from several groups and local leaders, including the Baltimore County NAACP, the Education Support Professionals of Baltimore County and the American Federation of State, according to a Baltimore Sun report that cites BCPS spokesperson Gboyinde Onijala.
Williams also expressed gratitude for school administrators and support staff, indicating his confidence in the county’s public school system in advancing excellence for all students across the board.
“There is more work to be done, but I believe that BCPS is well-poised to make progress toward eliminating disparities in academic achievement and will advance equity and excellence for all students,” Williams said in conclusion.