Davenport Superintendent Dr. Tate resigns early

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Dr. Art Tate

Davenport Schools Superintendent Dr. Art Tate will step down from his position early.

Back in April, Dr. Tate announced he was retiring June 2019. However, during a news conference this morning, he announced that his final day with the school district will be October 31.

He has been with the district since 2011.

Dr. Tate cited three personal reasons for his resignation:

1. He says he has fallen,”short in the area of disproportionality.”

2. He says he has,“become a liability because of my stand for funding equality.”

3. Lastly, he adds that, “Davenport Community School District deserves the best leadership.”

You can read the full statement of Tate’s statement below. He says these are his last words to the media, except “no comment.”

For more than a month I have been working with the Board of Directors to amend my contract to accommodate my resignation. I gave President Johanson a letter requesting that I be able to resign on October 31, 2018. I have three reasons for seeking permission to resign:

    1. As the leader of the school district it was my responsibility to recognize and take action to address the  disproportionality situation in the school district. As superintendent, I had an obligation to understand and react to unequal treatment of students, especially regarding discipline. I enjoyed a high level of trust and support from the Board of Directors and I was privileged to serve with talented teachers, staff and administrators who also gave me their support and trust. Although this district has realized some noteworthy accomplishments, I did not prioritize the need to address differences in the way students are excluded from classrooms and school. That was a serious failing on my part. Through all my leadership training and experience, I lived by the premise that the leader is responsible for all the organization does or fails to do. I should have established an action plan earlier to thwart disproportionality. Throughout my time in Davenport Community School district, I tried to put students first in all things, but fell short in the area of disproportionality. As I depart the district, I urge all members of the DCSD Team to continue to ensure equal treatment and opportunity for every student.

    2. The second reason I petitioned the Board to resign is that I have become a liability because of my stand for funding equality. The Davenport Board has been summoned to attend the next State Board of Education meeting to report on our progress on disproportionality. From comments which were reportedly made by a state board member, our Board will have a better chance to have a successful exchange without my presence. Although my work for equal funding was applauded by many, there are many at the state level who are not impressed by my actions. The district is currently dependent on having positive and trustful relations with state entities, and I feel my presence is a distraction.

    3. Davenport Community School District deserves the best leadership. I have always tried to be transparent in my public comments, and this will be no different. The fight for equity, coupled with the less than hoped for outcome, has sapped my professional strength. The never-ending conflict and negativity which is unfortunately a part of public education has affected my ability to remain strong and calm. A wonderful district such as Davenport deserves a superintendent who is relentlessly energetic. I have to admit that those words no longer describe me. I have been in a leadership position since age 16, and 63 years later I look forward to a break. The next phase of my life will be devoted to creating.

I want to point out and emphasize that the three situations cited above are the sole reasons for my request to resign. To suggest or report anything differently would be false.

Of course, an unanticipated change of superintendent is always difficult. But the Davenport district leadership is the most professional and talented I have ever encountered. They will respond and provide an infusion of excitement and hope to classrooms and schools.

A printed copy of this statement will be available when we are finished here. I will not be taking questions, nor will I entertain interviews in the future. These are my last words to media except for “no comment.”

Thank you. 

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