James Williams, 69, the African-American superintendent of the Buffalo school system, announced recently that he would retire at the end of the 2011-2012 school year. Although he had also just received a "competent" rating—or three out of five on his evaluation by the Buffalo Board of Education, a grade below his "very competent" rating in 2010—Williams said there was no link between the two events.
In May, protestors had rallied outside Buffalo City Hall demanding improvements at low-performing schools and higher graduation rates.
At his retirement announcement, Williams said that when the city replaces him that if it wants another African-American superintendent it should be ready to pay that person more than his current salary of $220,000.
He told reporters that "Right now, Dallas, Texas, needs a superintendent. Cleveland. Detroit. Our four largest school districts in Georgia, Atlanta city, Dekalb county, Cobb county all need a superintendent. So you are going to be competing against the best," he said.
Williams became Buffalo’s school superintendent in 2005. Previously, he was chief academic officer at the Community Education Partners which partners with schools to help low-performing students. He had also worked in the school systems of the District of Columbia, Montgomery County, Maryland, and in Dayton, Ohio.