Dayton’s school board on Tuesday appointed William Harris to fill the final six weeks of Adil Baguirov’s term on the board, after Baguirov stepped down this month.
Harris was the top vote-getter in the Nov. 7 election and will begin his regular four-year term in January. The school board approved Harris by 5-0 vote at the beginning of the meeting. He voted on some agenda items and abstained on others.
Harris said Tuesday he is embarrassed that Dayton Public Schools ranks second-last in Ohio on state test performance and thinks it’s realistic to move the district into the middle of the pack.
“I’m honored and humbled by the opportunity to serve on this board. … I wholeheartedly believe that we can turn this ship around,” Harris said. “We have what it takes if we work hard and invest in our children. I believe that our children can do well if our teachers and administrators have that expectation.”
The other three newly elected school board members who will take office in January – Jocelyn Rhynard, Karen Wick-Gagnet and Mohamed Al-Hamdani – also attended Tuesday’s meeting. All of those candidates had campaigned on a need for greater school board professionalism and less dysfunction.
But the board on Tuesday nearly misread the motion to appoint Harris, at first failing to name who they were appointing. Then school board President Robert Walker badly garbled the names of Wick-Gagnet and Al-Hamdani when he welcomed them to the meeting, with members of the audience correcting him.
Walker said he welcomed all of them to the school board and looked forward to their tenure together.
Baguirov did not run for re-election to the school board this year, citing plans to run for the Ohio House of Representatives 40th District seat in November 2018. Baguirov said he moved to that district earlier this month to qualify for the ballot, moving him out of the Dayton Public Schools boundaries.