Who Knew What, When About D.C.’s Schools Ex-Chancellor?

by: Micha Green Washington, D.C. AFRO Editor, mgreen@afro.com
/ (Courtesy photo) /

Antwan Wilson, former chancellor of District of Columbia Public Schools (DCPS), said D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser knew about his daughter’s covert transfer to another high school, months before it became public knowledge and resulted in his forced February resignation.

Antwan Wilson, former chancellor of D.C.’s school system, is raising questions about who else knew about his actions. (Courtesy photo)

On Monday, March 5, Wilson, in his first interview since he was ousted on Feb. 20, told the Washington Post that he informed Bowser in late September that he was working with former Deputy Mayor, Jenifer Niles, who also resigned, to transfer his daughter out of Duke Ellington School of the Arts, after she experienced emotional health issues from being enrolled at the institution.  He claimed he told the mayor in early October his daughter had successfully transferred to Woodrow Wilson High School.

Despite Wilson’s claims, the mayor said on Monday, she was clueless about the ex-chancellor’s and former deputy mayor’s plans to transfer his daughter avoiding protocol.

“I in no way approved of a transfer or knew about an illegal transfer,” Bowser said.

While Bowser’s Communication Director, Anu Rangappa, corroborated that the mayor met with Wilson on Sept. 20 and Oct. 11, he said there was nothing about Wilson’s daughter written on the agenda for either meeting.

After his public apology and unsuccessful plea campaign to keep his position, Wilson initially quietly resigned post the mayor’s orders, and pulled his daughter from Wilson High.

Yet, after the rhetoric used by the mayor, calling Wilson and Niles’ actions, “inexplicable” and “indefensible”, and her claim of ignorance in the transfer, the former chancellor said he was let down by Bowser’s false narrative.

“I’ve seen that narrative, and I’ve been disappointed in it… Because it’s not accurate,” Wilson told the {Washington Post}.

“I went to my bosses and had a conversation and made no demands,” Wilson said.  The former chancellor even said they did not even request Wilson High School by name, but that his family “wanted options in DCPS and that was important to us.”

At-large Council member, David Grosso (I), who chairs the education committee, said it is time to uncover the truth about the transfer dispute.

“We will be looking to get to the bottom of this,” Grosso told the {Washington Post}.

The chair of the education committee said he will hold a hearing for all the political players in the scandal to testify under oath.

“I feel like it’s time for us to have a public conversation under oath, about what happened,” Grosso said.  If Niles, Wilson, and Bowser refuse to appear voluntarily, council committees, such as education, have the power to subpoena witnesses.