By Bianca Viazzoli
DCPS Chancellor Antwan Wilson, known for his signature hat and friendly wave, says he is “committed to making a difference in the lives of young people” and has been for the last 30 years. Chancellor Wilson sat down with the UELIP cohort, and answered all the burning questions we had about all his new initiatives and his journey to DCPS.
One of Chancellor Wilson’s priorities is incorporation Social Emotion Learning into schools. SEL does not hinder rigorous academic standards, but supports them, according to the Chancellor. This is achieved through “baking in” SEL into training and professional development for all of our school staff.
The Chancellor is a strong believer in collaboration. He believes that collaboration is essential for students to have an appreciation for other people, but he also believes this is an essential need for us here in central office. Chancellor Wilson emphasizes the idea that “excellence cannot be achieved alone.” “There is value in the collaborative approach,” says the Chancellor, “everyone wins.” When comparing other districts, he has been a part of, the Chancellor says one disappointing quality he has witnessed is the disregard of talented employees. The Chancellor says our “greatest resource is people, not money.”
Chancellor Wilson said he urges educators to believe in the students first, and to lead with values. He believes it is DCPS’s responsibility to “put young people in the position to succeed.” He believes that teachers can no longer allow children to hide in the classroom. Teachers encourage students to speak, learn to be social aware, learn how to self-manage, and allow them to see themselves as participants in their learning. According to the Chancellor, students will not be motivated to learn if they don’t understand why they should be motivated.
One of the Chancellor’s philosophies is that educational success “shouldn’t attribute to where you live, your race, or how much money you have.” Chancellor Wilson believes that DCPS is on the rise, and wants to ensure that the changes and shifts that are coming are not meant to make life more difficult, but are coming to make educational success accessible to every student.