Calls for the resignation of the Clear Creek Independent School District superintendent were met with opposition from district staff and community members at the school board’s Monday meeting.
Although multiple speakers called for Eric Williams’ resignation, others spoke in support of the work Williams has done in the year he has served as the district’s superintendent.
“What we as staff have observed is a superintendent who listens to us,” said Nancy Hough, a teacher with the district. “Once he is made aware of concerns, he acts fast.”
Williams became superintendent in January after overseeing the Loudoun County Public Schools in Virginia. The district made national news because of complaints stemming from a decision to hire a firm in 2019 to assess its racial well-being.
Williams was hired in November to replace Greg Smith, who had been superintendent since 2008. The district has faced opposition since the announcement with some parents expressing concerns the district would teach critical race theory under Williams.
Critical race theory is an academic concept that teaches racism is embedded in the country’s legal systems and policies, according to the American Bar Association. It has been criticized by some people who say it teaches that the United States and all white people are racist.
Clear Creek ISD officials have said the district has never and will never teach critical race theory in its schools, and the school board passed a policy in January effectively prohibiting the teaching of the theory.
“Our focus is not critical race theory,” Williams said after the public comment portion of the meeting. “Critical race theory is not in CCISD’s curriculum or in its instructional resources.”
But not all community members have been satisfied with the district’s stance.
“We understand that critical race theory is banned in CCISD and by the state,” said Connie Ratisseau, who attended the meeting. “But you see, we also know critical race theory isn’t a class. It’s an ideology, it’s a tool in a war chest, it is Marxism.”
Clear Creek ISD parent Joshua Foxworth criticized the district for not doing more to eradicate the teaching of the theory, calling on administrators to punish those caught teaching the theory.
“If you want to do something to assuage people like me from coming and calling for his resignation, then do something that has merit,” he said.
Page Rander, who was a board trustee during the hiring of Williams, defended the board’s decision to hire Williams, saying her only regret was she didn’t get the chance to work with him after he was hired.
“We did this with community feedback on the profile of Clear Creek ISD and what everyone wanted in a superintendent,” she said.
Williams also addressed concerns from some parents about how the Loudoun County Public Schools handled a 2018 sexual assault. He countered those who said the district had swept it under the rug by saying the matter was investigated and turned over to law enforcement. Parents in the district were informed and given as much information as allowed by law, he said.
Despite calls from some for Williams to resign, the district has no plans to consider asking for his resignation and has been pleased with Williams’ performance, Board President Jay Cunningham previously told The Daily News. Williams beat out more than 70 candidates for the position, Cunningham said.
“When you look at curriculum, finance, instruction, Dr. Williams checked all of those boxes,” Cunningham said. “He knows all of those content areas.”