Dallas County School Board should make superintendent decision final

Published 9:52pm Monday, August 19, 2013

The change of leadership in the Dallas County School System was seamless. It was clear, transparent and, it appears it was the correct decision.

Now, the decision needs to be — for lack of a better way to say it — finally finalized.

A number of weeks ago, the Dallas County School Board selected Don Willingham as the interim superintendent of education. Willingham, for years, has served as assistant superintendent of education under the departing Dr. Fannie McKenzie and had both the credentials and the respect of others to warrant the promotion.

We congratulate the board for selecting Willingham. We also challenge the board to remove the interim tag as soon as possible and let Willingham move on without any question over his tenure.

In McKenzie’s departing comments to members of the system’s faculty last Friday at Martin Middle School, she summed up her support for Willingham and the need for smooth transitions.

“We’ve done a lot of good things and there’s still work to be done, but I know with the leadership of Mr. Willingham, the Dallas County School System will continue to be on the move,” McKenzie said. “It is my hope that they will have a very, very successful school year.

“It’s important that the Dallas County School System personnel feel that we are transitioning so that they can have a successful year,” McKenzie said, adding thanks to all those who made previous years a success. “I say thank you to the board for providing the opportunity. I say thank you to parents, students, administrators, teachers and our support personnel and friends of education. Without them, we could not have had the success we have had thus far.”

During the selection process, the board interviewed and considered a number of talented and smart people. In the end, the board was split between two candidates and then later “settled” on naming Willingham as interim in order to give them more time to reach a “final” decision in the coming weeks.

There’s no time like the present to end this process and remove the interim tag from Willingham’s title.

He has served the system well for years — both as an educator and administrator — and we have no doubt will be successful in his role as superintendent.

During a time when the system is not only kicking off a new school year, but also facing tremendous challenges, such as dwindling school populations and financial hurdles, having good and stable leadership has never be more crucial.

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