Reporting Pat Warren
BALTIMORE (WJZ)—The Baltimore City school community reacts to the announcement that CEO Dr. Andres Alonso is leaving.
Pat Warren reports the reaction from parents and students, friends and adversaries is surprise.
Ladonna Jones was bringing her children and her classroom concerns to the North Avenue school headquarters hoping to talk to Alonso.
“I felt as though I needed some answers,” she said.
At the same time, Alonso was announcing his resignation.
“Did he say why?” Jones asked.
His parents need him.
“I thought about leaving at the end of my first contract because there were already huge demands on my time from home,” Alonso told a packed room at a news conference at city school headquarters.
He said the timing was not right then, but it is now.
“Sometimes you have to do what you have to do. I’m a little hurt that he’s going to be gone because right now I don’t think we have anybody to fill his shoes,” she said.
“We have someone to step in and take over? No one yet” parent Cynthia Burton expressed her concern.
Wheels are already in motion.
“Family comes first,” said school board commissioner Robert Heck. “I wish him all the best, and everything’s in place to continue the work.”
Teachers union president Marietta English says she was surprised. She told WJZ although there were some adversarial moments, even the rough patches yielded benefits.
“In any relationship there’s going to be moments of disagreement,” English said.
Baltimore City Senator Nathaniel McFadden says Alonso ranks at the top of the list of city school superintendents.
“The students in the Baltimore City Public Schools and the staff are in a lot better position today than when he came,” he said.
Even some students have noticed.
“I think Dr. Alonso’s done a real good job,” said Roland Park 7th grader Gerald Burton. “I love Baltimore City schools with all my heart. I wish I would never leave and never grow up. I would like to say good luck to Mr. Alonso. I hope his family good luck. God bless you.”
Alonso leaves at the end of June.
Alonso’s chief of staff will serve as interim CEO. A national search has been launched to find a full-time replacement.