Gonzalez resigning school post

April 13, 1994|By Gary Gately | Gary Gately,Sun Staff Writer

Six days after Superintendent Walter G. Amprey decided to demote her and another deputy as part of a "top-down" shake-up at city school headquarters, Lillian Gonzalez said yesterday that she is resigning.

Dr. Gonzalez and Patsy Baker Blackshear, the other deputy, had been hired in 1991 as part of an unprecedented troika, after competing for the job of superintendent.

In a one-page statement, Dr. Gonzalez, 48, said she had left an assistant superintendent's job with Washington's school system to help lead reform efforts here. But, under the new management structure, she said, "I do not believe I can continue to accomplish that mission effectively." Dr. Gonzalez, who oversees instruction and is paid about $95,000 a year, has not decided when she will leave and would not elaborate on her plans.

In an unrelated move, Denise Borders, another top official at school headquarters, confirmed that she is resigning. The chief of educational accountability said she will move to Southern California. Her husband is moving to a job in Los Angeles, and she wants to be closer to renowned doctors to care for her 4-year-old son, who suffers from a rare heart disease, she said.

Dr. Amprey had said last week that, as of July 1, Dr. Gonzalez and Dr. Blackshear, who oversees management services, would each be demoted to associate superintendent if the board approved the moves, as expected. The associate superintendents would report to Patricia Newby, an area superintendent who would be promoted to become the sole deputy superintendent.

Dr. Amprey, who could not be reached yesterday, had called the moves the first of many in a broad restructuring that could result in dozens of employees being demoted or moved to other jobs. The restructuring, he said, would shift more authority and staff members from headquarters to schools.

The first moves in the shake-up came about three weeks after Dr. Amprey told his 177 principals that he was giving them more autonomy to run their schools by letting them control $32 million now in the hands of school headquarters.

Decentralization, which began with 24 experimental "enterprise schools" this year, will give individual schools much more say in spending for libraries, teacher training, gifted-and-talented programs and other services.

The superintendent called Dr. Newby, who came to Baltimore from the Montgomery County schools in 1992, an ideal candidate to help in the restructuring, which he said would take three years.

Dr. Gonzalez, a widely praised educator and administrator, has overseen instruction at a time of rapid change and many reforms. During her tenure, the school system has launched the "Tesseract" privatization experiment and has begun shifting much more authority for spending, hiring and curriculum from headquarters to schools.

"I believe Dr. Amprey is the best person to lead the Baltimore City schools," she said in her statement. "I intend to pursue a position that gives me the same kind of opportunities to execute real change."

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