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Rochester schools Superintendent Barbara Deane-Williams leaving in January

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Rochester schools Superintendent Barbara Deane-Williams announced late Thursday evening that she is retiring on January 31, 2019.  Her announcement ends months of speculation about her future with the district and whether she would complete her contract or seek another term.

She informed the school board at about 11:30 last night, following its monthly meeting. And she issued a public announcement a few minutes after that.
Rochester schools Superintendent Barbara Deane-Williams - FILE PHOTO
  • FILE PHOTO
  • Rochester schools Superintendent Barbara Deane-Williams

While her timing was a surprise to board members, that she is leaving wasn't. Deane-Williams has strong supporters on the board, but she's also faced serious criticism from others, and the board has been discussing preparations to search for her replacement. Her contract expires in July.

Deane-Williams joined the district as superintendent in August 2016 following Bolgen Vargas' departure.  She immediately embarked on a year long "listening tour" that was intended to give her a fresh and unvarnished look at the district. She also embraced a less punitive approach to student discipline and improving school climate.

But her tenure has also been a difficult one, with yet another scathing consultant's report on the district's special education program and the death of 12-year-old Trevyan Rowe, whose absence from school wasn't noticed until late in the day.

Deane-Williams' announcement comes shortly before what are expected to be harsh reports about the district by distinguished educator Jaime Aquino and the state attorney general's office.

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