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Critical Evaluation Reveals More About Departure Of Fort Worth Schools Chief

Bill Zeeble
Walter Dansby resigned as Fort Worth school superintendent last week.

More details emerged Tuesday about Walter Dansby's forced departure as Fort Worth school superintendent.

The Fort Worth Star-Telegram obtained a copy of a March 25 evaluation of Dansby. The document said the then-superintendent needed improvement in four of six areas. Eight of nine trustees scored him as failing to meet expectations.

In an interview with the Star-Telegram, Dansby blamed part of the evaluation on frequently changing and "inconsistent" board leadership. Without naming names, he also said he would not succumb to unethical behavior requested by some trustees.

"I wasn't giving raises to [trustee] relatives," Dansby told the newspaper. "I wasn't hiring people they wanted me to hire just because they wanted me to hire them. I was not cutting contracts. I had to remove 19 people in [the personnel department] who were closely tied to board members over the years. I stood firm and feel good about it."

In the evaluation, trustees also accused Dansby of bullying them -- an accusation he denied.

Some trustees said last week they still could have worked with Dansby to improve outcomes. But Dansby's attorney, Neal Adams, told the Star-Telegram six board members didn't want him.

The evaluation also questioned his management style, but trustees didn't attach their names. Dansby's lawyer said that's not allowed under state law.

When Dansby questioned the evaluation's methods, trustees reportedly hired their own lawyer. Ultimately, he wanted trustees to say he was either meeting expectations or they could expect his resignation or retirement. He announced his resignation after a 4 1/2-hour closed session with trustees on June 2.

Bill Zeeble has been a full-time reporter at KERA since 1992, covering everything from medicine to the Mavericks and education to environmental issues.