Dayton Daily News Library

James A. Williams
-- former superintendent of Dayton City Schools


JIM RUTLEDGE / DAYTON DAILY NEWS
  James A. Williams was superintendent of Dayton Public Schools from 1991 to 1999, when he was removed by the school board in the wake of a financial crisis.
   He first joined the district in 1986 as an assistant superintendent under Superintendent Franklin Smith. When Smith left in 1991 the board chose Williams as his successor.
  Williams championed magnet schools, full-day kindergarten, pre-school, nurses in every building, a mobile health clinic, on-staff psychologists, and free breakfast and lunch for all elementary students.
   But his brash personality and frequent candidacies for jobs in other states eroded his support. And when a 1999 state audit found the district deeply in debt Williams was blamed for not heading off the crisis.
  On June 28,1999 the board voted to buy out his contract. On Aug. 6, 1999 Jerrie McGill was chosen as his successor.

Chronology:

5-30-1991 -- Williams named superintendent to replace Franklin Smith.
4-11-1992 -- Facing a financial crisis, Williams proposed a five-day furlough of all school staff to address the shortfall.

James A. Williams

Family:His father, David, was a minister, and his mother, Margaret, a schoolteacher. Wife, Linda, a former teacher, and three children, Lawrence, Lia and Jami.
Education: B.S., Virginia Seminary and College, Lynchburg, Va.; M.A., University of the District of Columbia; Ed.D., George Washington University.
Experience: Named superintendent of Dayton schools in June 1991. Had been Dayton deputy superintendent since July 1988. Formerly principal of Cardozo Senior High School, Washington, D.C., and assistant principal, guidance counselor and teacher in Washington, D.C., schools.
4-14-1992 -- Teachers rejected Williams' proposed staff furloughand voted 'no confidence' in his leadership.
4-17-1992 -- The School Board rejected Williams furlough
11-3-1992 -- Dayton voters approved a 10.4-mil levy.
3-25-1993 -- Dayton teachers go out on strike.
6-9-1993 -- Williams announces his blueprint for improving Dayton Schools, " The Choice Is Transformation: Education for a New Generation."
9-29-1993 -- The Dayton school board voted to give Williams a $5,600 raise, increasing his annual salary to $97,979.
7-19-1994 -- Williams announced he was withdrawing his name from consideration for superintendent of Atlanta city schools. (Atlanta school officials later said Williams' last-minute withdrawal had little impact on their unanimous decision to nominate another candidate).
8-18-1994 -- The School Board voted to renew Williams contract for five years, at a salary of $103,885.
3-28-1995 -- Williams came under fire for accepting additional compensation from Wright State University as a guest lecturer.
3-30-1995 -- Williams said he would reimburse Wright State University $8,000 the university paid him for guest-lecturing duties he never performed and end his financial relationship with WSU.
12-6-1995 -- The school board voted to give Williams a 4 percent raise, and included a provision in his contract allowing him to accumulate additonal cash payments for unused sick time.
4-8-1996 -- Williams said he would ask the school board to sue if the state of Ohio does not accept his $431 million education-reform plan.
4-30-1996 -- Backing away from threats to sue the state, Williams presented his funding plan to the House Education Committee
11-12-1996 -- Williams named the recipient of the 1996 Richard R. Green urban educator of the year award by the Council of the Great City Schools.
2-20-1997 -- Williams was passed over for a job in Durham N.C. when the board of education there voted to hire another candidate.
1-7-1998 -- Williams proposed converting five Dayton schools to charter schools with hand-picked teachers, new principals and longer school days.
8-26-1998 -- The Dayton school board extended Williams' contract by one year, through July 2000, with the possibility of two additional years based on a board evaluation of his performance.
1-15-1999 -- News reports in Dallas list Williams as a candidate for superintendant of Dallas city schools.
2-25-1999 -- Williams withdraws as a candidate for the Dallas post.
5-24-1999 -- State Auditor Jim Petro reveals an audit showing the Dayton school district deeply in debt. Willimas comes under fire.
6-28-1999 -- The school board votes to remove Williams by buying out the remainder of his contract.

Selected Dayton Daily News stories:

A MAN OF PRINCIPLE IN EDUCATION
ADMINISTRATOR BRINGING HIGH STANDARDS TO DAYTON

By Michael C. Jackson COX NEWS SERVICE
Aug. 17, 1986

WILLIAMS HEADS SCHOOLS
BOARD NAMES SMITH AIDE TO TOP JOB

By Rosemary Harty STAFF WRITER
Published: 05/31/91 -- Page: 1A

CITY SCHOOLS' NEW MARCHING ORDERS: HIT THE BOOKS
WILLIAMS WANTS ACCOUNTABILITY

By Rosemary Harty STAFF WRITER

WILLIAMS' WORK STYLE: TOUGH TALK, FAST ACTION
FORCEFUL SCHOOL CHIEF RATTLES SOME IN SYSTEM

By Rosemary Harty DAYTON DAILY NEWS
Published: 11/24/91 -- Page: 1A

WILLIAMS SAYS HE DRAWS STRENGTH FROM PRINCIPLES
By Mary McCarty DAYTON DAILY NEWS
Published: 03/29/93 -- Page: 1A

DAYTON SCHOOLS
WILLIAMS' PERFORMANCE SPARKS DEBATE
* Some say the superintendent is innovative, while others are quick to criticize

By Lynn Hulsey DAYTON DAILY NEWS
Published: 03/14/99 -- Page: 17A
PROFILE

AUDIT: DAYTON SCHOOL FINANCES IN SHAMBLES
Projected deficits will force cuts

By Mark Fisher DAYTON DAILY NEWS
Published: 05/25/99 -- Page: 1A

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File Created: 2-8-1999
Prepared by: Dayton Daily News Library staff
Sources: DDN reports