Des Plaines Elementary District 62 board President Stephanie Duckmann asked the community Monday to give new Superintendent Floyd Williams Jr. a chance, days after a Daily Herald story detailing misconduct allegations against him at his last job.
"It is our hope that as Dr. Williams spends time in the community this year, those he meets will be open to him and give him the opportunity he deserves to share his plans and vision for the district," said Duckmann, reading from a prepared statement at a school board meeting. "His accomplishments as a leader speak for themselves, and the board is excited to partner with him so we may continue to focus on what truly matters most -- supporting the children of District 62."
The Daily Herald reported July 15 that Williams faced dismissal from his last job at the Kenosha Unified School District in Wisconsin after his boss alleged he had nude images on his work computer and took photos of a staff member that made her feel uncomfortable, according to documents obtained through a request under Wisconsin's Open Records Law.
Williams, then assistant superintendent for elementary school leadership in the Kenosha school district, also was accused of making inappropriate comments to his assistant and directing her to perform personal tasks for him and his family, the documents state.
Williams didn't address the allegations during the Monday board meeting, his first after becoming superintendent July 1.
But in a statement to the Daily Herald last Thursday, Williams said the accusations against him reflect only the opinion of Kenosha Superintendent Sue Savaglio-Jarvis, who won the top job that Williams also applied for in 2014.
While not responding directly to the misconduct charges, Williams said in the statement he prides himself on his ethics and integrity, and he said has been candid with the board "regarding the strained circumstances" surrounding his departure in Kenosha.
At the school board meeting, only one person spoke about Williams' hiring during the public comment portion of the agenda.
"I think you guys made a terrible selection," Robert Arcuri, a Des Plaines resident, told board members. "When you read the newspaper, it's terrible. Certainly there are more people out there who are better than this. It looks like there was no common sense among any one of you."
Williams was placed on paid administrative leave at his Kenosha job in October 2015 during an investigation into the allegations, before Savaglio-Jarvis suspended him without pay a month later and recommended his termination to the school board. Williams instead resigned Nov. 23.
The following weekend, Williams interviewed behind closed doors with the District 62 board for the superintendent position. He was one of 44 candidates who applied for the job.
Board members say Williams told them about the accusations against him in Kenosha and, after a thorough vetting, they were comfortable hiring him.
In January, they approved his three-year employment contract, which pays him an annual base salary of $198,000.