Philly schools superintendent William Hite is leaving

He’ll stay until the last day of his contract on Aug. 31, 2022

By: - September 28, 2021 11:51 am

Mayor Jim Kenney, left, and School District of Philadelphia William Hite released an open letter to Philadelphians encouraging them to take advantage of the Child Tax Credit (Philadelphia Tribune photo).

By Chanel Hill

PHILADELPHIA —  School District of Philadelphia superintendent William Hite announced Monday night that he will not renew his contract at the end of the 2021-22 school year.

“I’ve had the tremendous honor and privilege to serve as superintendent of the School District of Philadelphia to work alongside you and many of my colleagues and support our beautiful and talented and young children that we serve,” Hite said in a video message. “After much reflection, I have decided not to renew my contract.”

Hite will remain in his role as superintendent until the end of his contract, Aug. 31, 2022. District officials said the search for a new superintendent will begin shortly with a decision being made in early spring of next year.

“I’ll continue to be fully at the helm of the District for the next year as there is still a lot to be done,” Hite said in a letter to district families. “There will be several critical initiatives advancing over the next year that will focus on how equity, facilities planning and environmental improvements can be improved throughout the district.

“I’m asking for your continued support over this next year to ensure that these efforts and all school operations move forward successfully while the superintendent search is underway.”

In a statement, Mayor Jim Kenney thanked Hite for his leadership.

“His leadership generated several years of steady academic progress and laid a strong foundation for the work ahead,” Kenney said.

“In returning the District to local control, our goal has always been to ensure that every student, in every neighborhood school, can reach their full potential with the foundation of a quality K-12 education, and we have made meaningful progress toward that goal thanks to Dr. Hite,” he added.

Hite, Kenney and members of the Board of Education are expected to hold a news media briefing at 1 p.m. Tuesday at the district’s headquarters at 440 N. Broad St.

Hite, 60, has been one of the longest-tenured superintendents in the history of a district that educates nearly 120,000 students in more than 200 schools.

He came to Philadelphia in June 2012 from Prince George’s County Public Schools, Maryland’s second-largest school district, where he was superintendent.

His resume also includes stints as assistant superintendent for Georgia’s Cobb County School District before his appointment to Prince George’s County Public Schools.

District officials commended Hite’s work, saying since his arrival, Hite and his administration have doubled the number of higher-performing schools, increased graduation rates and modernized early literacy classrooms in 48 schools.

“We have had nearly 10 years of Dr. Hite’s strong and stable leadership, which has been transformational for the School District of Philadelphia,” said Board of Education president Joyce Wilkerson in a statement.

“Through his work, we have been able to return the District to local control, usher in a period of fiscal stability, and put the academic achievement of our students at the forefront,” she added. “We are grateful that he will continue to lead the District this year, keeping school buildings safely open for our students, and helping us as we begin the search process for his replacement.”

Hite said he remains committed to district students, families and staff until his tenure ends.

“As I continue to serve the students, families and staff of the School District of Philadelphia throughout this next year, I do so with deep pride and humility,” Hite said.

“We have come a long way since 2012 but there is still much more work to do,” he added. “This school year will be a challenging one as we focus on keeping our schools safely open for in-person learning and helping all of our young people to heal and grow. I remain 100% committed to leading this important work in the year ahead.”

Chanel Hill is a reporter for the Philadelphia Tribune, where this story first appeared

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