Muriel Bowser

Ex-DCPS Chancellor Antwan Wilson to Receive $140K Severance After Resignation

Wilson resigned Feb. 20 after getting his daughter into a new high school without going through the competitive lottery system

What to Know

  • The former D.C. schools chancellor resigned after he got special treatment for his daughter, bypassing the school lottery system.
  • Antwan Wilson will receive six months severance pay, amounting to $140,000.
  • The deputy mayor for education also resigned after she allowed the chancellor to bypass the required system.

Former D.C. Public Schools Chancellor Antwan Wilson will receive six months pay as severance after resigning his post, according to an agreement released Tuesday.

Wilson resigned on Feb. 20 after he bypassed the highly competitive public school lottery system to get his daughter a coveted seat at a top high school. 

He signed an agreement Monday with the city that grants him six months pay, or $140,000.

Wilson received a base salary of $280,000, plus a $14,000 signing bonus and $25,000 in moving expenses, public records show.

Wilson would have only received three months pay if he was fired "for cause." His contract says, "A termination would be 'for cause' if an employee is indicted for or convicted of any criminal offense, commits on duty conduct that he reasonably knows is a violation of law or regulation; [or] uses public office for private gain," among other offenses.

The documents explicitly state that the agreement is not an admission that the District government or anyone involved with the government broke a law, rule or regulation.

The agreement also requires him to turn over all documents and equipment to the city.

Wilson initially refused the calls of seven D.C. council members who said he should resign after it came to light that his daughter received preferential treatment in choosing a school.

"My family was in a crisis," Wilson told News4 Monday evening. "I was struggling."

But parents' and lawmakers' calls for Wilson's resignation grew too strong, Mayor Muriel Bowser said. 

"It became very clear to me over the last several days that Chancellor Wilson would be unable to successfully lead the schools, having not been able to regain the community's trust," she said at a news conference the evening of Feb. 20. 

"There are too many tough decisions in the coming months to have any distractions, and we want to make very clear to parents and students that we are going to support them in any way possible," the mayor continued. 

Deputy Mayor for Education Jennifer Niles resigned earlier in February after she allowed Wilson to bypass the lottery, in direct violation of a mayoral order issued last year, as News4 was first to report.

Dr. Amanda Alexander, head of the DCPS Office of Elementary Schools, was named interim chancellor. Alexander has degrees from Howard University and American University, started her teaching career in D.C. kindergarten classrooms and has served as principal of two D.C. schools, Bunker Hill Elementary School and Ross Elementary School.

"I plan to connect with members of the community, our stakeholders, to rebuild that trust," she said.

Niles' and Wilson's departures comes amid a time of crisis for DCPS. The FBI, U.S. Department of Education and the D.C. Office of the Inspector General are investigating the school system following revelations of inflated graduation rates.

Bowser said on Feb. 16 that she stood by the decision to ask Niles, not Wilson, to resign.

"I recognize that the chancellor had what he thought was an untenable family situation, and he was trying to resolve it and trying to resolve it by asking his supervisor what to do," she said.

Former schools chancellor Kaya Henderson was also found to have violated the school lottery system.

The Office of the Inspector General found seven instances in which Henderson "improperly used her discretion" to transfer students outside of school district boundaries, the News4 I-Team reported.

Wilson became chancellor a little more than a year ago, on Feb. 1, 2017. He was selected, in part, for his success in raising achievement scores as superintendent of Oakland Unified School District in Oakland, California.

"As superintendent [in Oakland], he has focused on managing and improving a complex organization, championing important messages to improve teaching and learning, increasing high school graduation rates and improving social and emotional learning in special education processes," Bowser said as she introduced him.

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