Antwan Wilson, a former Denver educator who served for the past year as chancellor of the high-profile Washington, D.C. school district, was forced to resign Tuesday.
According to the Washington Post, Wilson skirted Washington, D.C.’s competitive school lottery process so his oldest daughter could transfer to a high-performing high school.
“I wish I could go back and look up and talk to as many people as I could about the challenge I was facing,” Wilson told the Post a day before he resigned. “I failed miserably. It wasn’t a mistake out of anything other than trying to ensure that my daughter’s well-being was taken care of.”
The Post called Wilson’s resignation “a stunningly swift fall for an educator hailed as the heir to the school reform agenda crafted by Michelle Rhee,” and noted that it’s a political blow to the mayor who appointed him chancellor last year.
Mayor Muriel Bowser said Wilson is “an extraordinary educator” who made a mistake, the Post reported. She initially said she remained confident in his ability to run the school system but said she later realized it would be too difficult for him to regain the public’s trust.
Wilson used Washington, D.C.’s lottery system to find schools for his three children, according to the Post. His oldest daughter, a high school sophomore, initially enrolled at a magnet school called Duke Ellington School of the Arts. But after a few weeks, the family wanted to transfer her. Wilson’s wife coordinated with the deputy mayor, and the teen transferred to high-performing Wilson High, which is not the family’s neighborhood school.
The school has a wait list of more than 600 students.
Before taking the top job in Washington, D.C., Wilson served for two and a half years as superintendent of the Oakland, California, school district. Before that, he had a long career in Denver. He was an assistant superintendent in Denver Public Schools for five years, supervising middle, high, and alternative schools. He was also an instructional superintendent supervising school principals, and principal of the now-closed Montbello High School.