James Williams Withdraws From the Running in Memphis
by Geoff Kelly - posted 5:01 pm, May 16, 2008
“It wouldn’t be fair to the children, ” said Buffalo Schools Superintendent James A. Williams, announcing this afternoon that he had withdrawn his name from consideration for a job as head of the Memphis schools. Upon reflection, Williams said—pulling out the regal first-person plural—”Our greatest achievements are here, in Buffalo. We’ve had a very good three years.”
Williams had been due to interview for the job in Memphis on Monday, May 19. That would have been the formal interview; he’d already done a phone interview, which landed him among the finalists. As Jamie Moses wrote in AV this week, Williams trolled for jobs in other cities while he was superintendent of Dayton schools, too. He said at today’s press conference that Buffalo was it for him; that he’s made a commitment. Moses’ article indicates that he’s said that before as well.
Williams was joined at the press conference by senior staff and the five school board members who seem to think he can do no wrong: Mary Ruth Kapsiak, Vivian Evans, Chris Jacobs, Florence Johnson, and Pamela Perry-Cahill. The four who tend to challenge Williams and his steamrolling style—Ralph Hernandez, Lou Petrucci, Catherine Nugent Panepinto, and Catherine Collins—were absent.
Williams’ performance was recently evaluated by the board, and the overall score he received—comprising an average of the individual scores given him by each board member—was reportedly pretty good. (Of course, it was an average, and there has been some grumbling that dissenting opinions never made it into his final evaluation.)
Did that vote of confidence, asked Channel 2’s Rich Kellman, figure into his decision to stick around?
“I’ve always had the confidence of the board,” Williams said. “When I say ‘the board,’ I mean the majority.”