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As Salt Lake City moves to shed its first Black school superintendent, a look at what went wrong

Posted at 11:08 AM, Aug 01, 2022
and last updated 2022-08-01 13:08:46-04

SALT LAKE CITY — Soon, perhaps as early as next week, the Salt Lake City school board is poised to potentially terminate the district’s first Black superintendent after he’s served barely a year on the job.

Defenders of Dr. Timothy Gadson accuse the board of engaging in a racially motivated witch hunt to rid itself of an outsider who has shaken up the way the district has done business.

But interviews with district administrators and principals — current and former — and complaint letters from employees, as well as comments from a staff survey conducted in recent months, paint a picture of educators frustrated with what they feel is a degrading work environment, troubled by what they perceive as ethical violations, and dismayed by a string of Gadson’s hires.

“The atmosphere since the new superintendent has arrived has been the worst I’ve ever seen it,” one district employee wrote in the anonymous survey, obtained by The Salt Lake Tribune through an open-records request. “I have personally seen him be extremely rude, dismissive, condescending, and unprofessional.”

“Our Superintendent is extremely disappointing. He has shown disdain for teachers,” another wrote. “Get this man out of here and hire someone who actually cares about [Salt Lake City School District.]”

Earlier this month, the board offered to buy out part of the year remaining on Gadson’s contract — they would part ways and Gadson would get four months of salary. He refused and was put on administrative leave. Board member Mohamed Baayd, who is Black, has said the leave was meant to buy time so the board could decide the best way to get rid of the superintendent.

Read the entire story at the Salt Lake Tribune

This article is published through the Utah News Collaborative, a partnership of news organizations in Utah that aim to inform readers across the state.