To no one’s surprise, the Fort Worth school board tonight gave interim school superintendent Walter Dansby the job permenantly and wrote him into the history books. He is the first African American to hold the job. The board’s two black members, TA Sims and Christene Moss, spoke with unconcealed pride at having been able to help bring this historical moment to Fort Worth.
Trustee Ann Sutherland, who has been one of Dansby’s strongest supporters, said “Everything I’ve worked for since I was elected to this board has been vindicated by tonight’s vote.”
Carlos Vasquez praised Dansby as having been the best candidate of the six finalists for the post. Pointing out that Fort Worth is near the academic bottom in Texas of all of the major urban districts, Vasquez said that Dansby pledged in his interview to “turn this district around in a year.” Vasquez was also impressed with his promise to bring “equity” to the district with its overwhelming majority of of minority and economically-deprived students.
Thanking the board for the faith it put in him, Dansby called Fort Worth a “school district on the move” and promised to make it “the best in Texas.”
It will be no small task. Dansby has almost 30 poor-performing schools to “turn around.” He has inherited a mare’s nest of expensive whistle-blower lawsuits, a $13 million hiring scandal, a failed $4.9 million computer program and a $50 million deficit just to name a few of the daunting financial issues on his plate.
Fort Worth Weekly wishes him well. After all, he does return our phone calls. But we also echo Moss’s word of caution as she closed her congratulatory speech to him tonight: “You have our support,” she said, “until you do something wrong.”