Orange County Superintendent Criticized for Job Search

By: Sarah Batista
By: Sarah Batista

February 1, 2006

Dr. William Crawford was one of three final candidates in the Charlottesville school Superintendent search, but has since withdrawn his application. Now some parents and students in Orange County are upset, and there is a lot of uncertainty among the students, parents, as well as the school board members. They don't understand why their own Superintendent applied for another position so soon after accepting the one in Orange County.

Just seven months into his position as Orange County Superintendent, Dr. Crawford is taking heat for considering another job.

"I felt shocked because I [thought] he was going to do good for our schools...is he not impressed with us? Why did he want to leave so soon," asked one school employee.

"It's kind of sad because we really thought we had someone who was going to help us here," said another school employee.

Although Crawford withdrew his candidacy on Saturday, he was one of three finalists being considered for the Charlottesville School Superintendent position. Orange County school board members told Crawford they were disappointed in his decision during Monday's meeting. But despite the backlash, Crawford says he had good intentions. What attracted him to the position was Charlottesville's huge achievement gap.

"I saw it as a significant challenge to serve in an urban setting where there was a great need and a great diversity of abilities and of resources," said Dr. Crawford.

He denies the decision having anything to do with salary or wanting to leave Orange County, but some students don't buy it.

"If that's really the reason then that's not as bad, but I sort of feel like that's not really the reason and so it's kind of untruthful," said one student.

Still, despite the heavy criticism, Crawford says he has no regrets and intends to move forward with his promises in Orange County.

"Am I sorry that some peoples feelings were hurt by this, absolutely," said Crawford. "Do I regret looking into the opportunity to positively affect the lives of children who may have substantial needs? Absolutely not."

Although Orange County School Board members say they are disappointed with Crawford’s decision, they have chosen to look past the issue and they're confident he is still the right man for the job.

Charlottesville School Board Chair Julie Gronland says the school board is being sensitive to the situation and respects Crawford’s decision to withdraw his application.


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