Paso Robles News|Tuesday, June 18, 2019
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Paso Robles schools superintendent resigns 

Chris Williams.

Paso Robles Unified School District Superintendent Chris Williams announced his resignation during a special closed-session board meeting Thursday.

During Thursday’s meeting, the board also accepted the resignations of Rich Clayton, director of athletics, and Kristin Shouse, director of student services.

Williams’ resignation was accepted by the Board of Trustees 6-1. The transition will reportedly take place over the next 60 days.

His resignation follows the November election in which three out of four incumbent school board trustees lost their seats to newcomers who had voiced skepticism of the current district administration.

Williams submitted his resignation after his ninth consecutive positive evaluation that met and exceeded standards, according to a district news release,

“It is with the deepest gratitude that we thank Chris Williams for the passion, purpose, conviction, and leadership he has provided in the transformation of our district into one of excellence,” the press release said. “This transition will take place over the next 60 days.”

Williams thanked the community for their support in comments to the Paso Robles Daily News today: “Thank you for the incredible support and willingness in allowing me to be a part of making a difference for our kids. I have loved every minute of my time serving each of you, our students, and our community and have only the fondest memories of my time serving as the superintendent.

“Thank you to everyone who has challenged themselves to be difference makers, who are loyal to the cause and purpose of excellence and have been there with me, for this organization, but most importantly for the youth of this community. Onward and upward.

School board Trustee Joel Peterson called Williams’ resignation an unfortunate situation: “Over the past five years, Chris brought vision, leadership and institutional change to our district. He worked hard to create new opportunities in the district – for our students and employees. But change can be difficult, and there are some in the community that chose to focus on the negative, not the positive. That saddens me, as Chris always had the interests of the students first.

“With a new board being seated next week, we’ll have a chance to look at leadership and steps forward. I’m optimistic we can make progress and continue to improve. We have a tough budget situation to figure out, and I’m confident we will work through it. We owe it to our community, parents, the staff, and the 6,900 students (including my two daughters), in the district, who deserve a solid education.”

School board Trustee Chris Bausch said Williams’ resignation took him by surprise: “After some excellent time and discussion with Mr. Williams during last week’s Board Training, I was looking forward to working with Mr. Williams and the new board. He indicated to me and to others he was as well. I was quite surprised at his resignation.

“The timing and expense of paying for his departure could not have come at a worse time for the district. We can ill afford the added expense. There were three resignations today, Kristin Shouse, Rich Clayton and Chris Williams. I would like to thank all three for their service to the students, staff and community of Paso Robles. I wish them all much success.”

School board Trustee Matt McClish said, “This is a sad day for Paso Robles. As a Roblan, I am upset for our community, as someone who respects so many teachers and staff, I am worried. As a parent with a son in his very first year of school, I am gravely concerned. This had nothing to do with education which is a real shame.”

Williams joined the district in 2015, after serving as assistant superintendent of human resources at Central Unified School District in Fresno County.

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About the author: Publisher Scott Brennan

Scott Brennan is the publisher of this newspaper and founder of Access Publishing. Follow him on , Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, or follow his blog.