DC deputy mayor for education is out over transfer of chancellor’s child

WASHINGTON — Mayor Muriel Bowser asked Deputy Mayor for Education Jennifer Niles to step down Friday afternoon, after she orchestrated the transfer of schools Chancellor Antwan Wilson’s child.

Wilson had reached out to his superior, Niles, for help in transferring the child to an out-of-boundary school, and Niles arranged for that transfer.

In a statement, Bowser said she is referring the Wilson matter to the Board of Ethics and Government Accountability, as well as to the D.C. inspector general. Wilson has apologized, and the high schooler will be removed from the school.

“I accepted the deputy mayor’s resignation and I have set out a series of corrective actions for Chancellor Wilson,” Bowser said.

The mayor’s office has a history of appointees abusing D.C.’s school lottery system, which every D.C. parent must abide by — placing their child in a school of the district’s choosing. By moving his child, Wilson issued a mayoral order last year.

The transfer in question involved a move from Duke Ellington High School to Woodrow Wilson High School, according to a mayoral administration official. (The Wilsons live in an area zoned for Dunbar High School.)

In a letter, Wilson apologized and wrote that he’s committed to regaining the public’s trust.

“This September, my family faced a difficult decision where we felt that my child needed to transfer schools,” the chancellor wrote. “I sought assistance on how to do this correctly, and as a result, my child was transferred to another school. However, the process I followed did not align with DCPS policy.”

D.C. Councilmember David Grosso, who serves as the chairperson for the Committee on Education, said in a statement that he was “extremely disappointed” in Niles and Wilson.

“I appreciate that the catalyst for this transfer was what the chancellor believed was in the best interest of his child,” Grosso said. “Still, this was a huge mistake.”

Megan Cloherty

WTOP Investigative Reporter Megan Cloherty primarily covers breaking news, crime and courts.

Jack Pointer

Jack contributes to WTOP.com when he's not working as the afternoon/evening radio writer.

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