BALTIMORE (WJZ) — Baltimore County Schools Superintendent S. Dallas Dance has abruptly resigned mid-contract, after being in the position for 5 years.
The move comes as a surprise considering Dance just signed a new contract nearly a year ago.
Dance became superintendent in 2012 and signed a new four-year contract in the fall, making $287,000 per year.
He oversees the instruction of 112,000 students and manages a $2 billion budget.
Up until Tuesday evening, Dr. Dance avoided speaking about his resignation publicly. Dance says it was simply the right time for him and his family.
“While the superintendency has been the best job I could ever had had, it does weigh on you and becomes taxing,” Dance said.
Dance, 35, says he has not yet accepted another job, and released the following statement:
“I have received several offers, but I have not firmly decided. I look forward to sharing in the upcoming weeks what I will be doing post.”
“I’m surprised right now,” said Owings Mills parent Jennet Mofor. “I don’t know why he resigned.”
In a statement about his resignation released by the school system Tuesday morning, Dance wrote:
“The last five years serving as Superintendent of Team BCPS have been the best years of my professional life. As I stated in my latest State of the Schools message, I have led this organization from my heart believing that we could move mountains, and while not literally, we have begun tackling some large complex issues, which will take us time, effort, energy, and commitment to realize its full impact. However, I believe our county and region will be better because of our strategic efforts to provide an equitable educational experience for all of our children.
While there is more work to be done; Team BCPS is certainly on the right track under the leadership of a phenomenal group of chiefs, top-notch school leaders, dedicated and caring teachers, and thousands of committed support staff all throughout our organization. I truly believe BCPS is in a better place today than when I first arrived. To that end, I now transition to another chapter of my career where I will specifically use my passion for equity and access to a quality education to ensure it is provided to all students through school, district, and community leadership.
Team BCPS is much bigger than any one individual. Therefore, the work continues, and the pride we have cultivated around our culture will deepen. I want to thank each and every person who has worked and supported us as we’ve strengthened incredible learning environments for each child in every school. I know the best days for Team BCPS are ahead, and I will always be one of its biggest cheerleaders.”
For the first time board members spoke out about the surprise resignation.
“I think he’s a great leader, not just for the school system, but also a great leader for the students,” said BCPS board member Marisol Johnson.
Some have questioned whether it stems from a number of controversies over the past year, including an ethics probe finding him in violation of financial disclosure rules for not reporting pay he received as an adjunct professor, according to our media partners at The Baltimore Sun.
He also faced riled parents and a call for his resignation after November’s election of President Donald Trump, when he retweeted a controversial sentiment from former Montgomery County Public Schools Superintendent Joshua Starr. That tweet read:
“Educators: tomorrow pls show your muslim, black, latino, jewish, disabled, or just non-white St’s, that you love them and will protect them!”
He’s also been at the center of a heated battle over air conditioning in public schools.
“I don’t think that necessarily contributed to any decision he had,” said Baltimore County Executive Kevin Kamenetz. “This is a system that is vastly improved since Dallas Dance became superintendent. I think this is purely a family issue that he’s dealing with.”
Kamenetz released a statement on Dance’s resignation, saying “This is a tremendous loss for our County and our students.”
“Dr. Dance and I have worked closely together over the last five years and achieved incredible accomplishments including increasing graduation rates for all students, narrowing the achievement gap and making huge progress toward providing healthy 21st-century learning environments.”
Kamenetz adds “I am confident the school board will recruit the best new superintendent to continue Dr. Dance’s legacy of providing a quality education for our students.”
[Reporter: Do you think this move is beneficial to Baltimore County Public Schools or do you think it’s a great loss?]
“Probably some of both,” said Abby Beytin, president of the Teachers Association of Baltimore County. “Some people are probably very happy, others are very sad. It depends on what they’re teaching where they’re teaching.”
Beytin says she never doubted Dance’s good intentions but it didn’t always work out that way.
“Who’s going to be the next superintendent, what direction are we going, are there going to be multiple changes again, because my teachers are ready for calm,” she said.
Dance has also received lots of praise for his contributions to the school system like the development of “Blueprint 2.0” plan boosting academics, safety, and communication.
Graduation rates also surged to nearly 90 percent for the class of 2016 under his watch.
He was even honored at the White House.
Dance’s last day will be June 30.