Superintendent Mitchell out, returns to job

Dr. Diana Mitchell

Dr. Diana Mitchell

CAMBRIDGE — Dorchester County Public Schools announced Tuesday that Superintendent Dr. Diana Mitchell had taken a leave of absence. It lasted less than a week.

On Monday morning, the Board of Education published a statement saying, “Dr. Diana Mitchell has returned and resumed her duties at Dorchester County Public Schools. Welcome back!”

In the interim, Beth Wilson had been appointed Administrator-In- Charge of Public Schools. In response to a request for further information last week, she told The Banner, “It is a personnel matter, and there is really nothing else I can tell you.”

Emails to President of the Board of Education Glenn Bramble and Dr. Mitchell received no response. A Banner reporter visited the headquarters building three times, but no one was available to speak on the issue.

Readers shared their views, though. In responses to The Banner’s article posted online, Bob Owens said, “With all the teachers leaving this summer and the mistreatment of many longtime educators, this has the feel of a coup d’état by some prominent people.”

Dr. Mitchell was announced as the new superintendent on May 22, 2017. She is beginning the second year of a four-year term.

Her time in office has been marked not only by strong support, but also criticism. Following an incident of multiple fights and arrests at Cambridge-South Dorchester High School this spring, there were calls for her resignation.

There have also been statements strong in their support for Dr. Mitchell.

“Obviously, the system has been broken and instead of looking at improving the education of our students, we continue to focus on the wrong things,” Omeakia Jackson wrote online. “If they understood the community, there would have been more teachers of color in the schools; teachers would know that the students are not performing well because the students’ needs aren’t being met in school; there are other issues in the home and or community; that the parents of these students graduated from these schools and some of them cannot read past a fifth-grade level so they cannot help their children; and it’s not their parents’ fault that the system failed them. She didn’t fail this county nor the students. It’s funny how folks blame the new person, but not the people who were here before her who created the mess.”

Omeakia Jackson continued, “People are complaining, but how many are showing up to help the students?”

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