The Williams Unified School District’s Board of Trustees fired the district’s superintendent during a special meeting Thursday night.

WUSD Superintendent Dr. Edgar Lampkin was placed on a leave of absence through Feb. 16, 2021. Lampkin had been superintendent for the district since June 2016.

“The newly elected board believes that its vision for the future and expectations for leadership require a change in management style and new leadership that will benefit our district and the students we serve,” it was stated in a release issued by the board following the meeting.

The decision was made by a 4:1 vote, with newly appointed board members Edward Davis, Patricia Ash, Kathleen Bautistia and Cesar Perez voting in favor of the termination. The four new members were appointed to their positions during the regularly scheduled monthly board meeting held just days earlier, on Dec. 14.

“We are all graduates of this school,” said Davis. “I go back to 1964 and the youngest, Cesar, 2012. We span two generations here and we still have a great respect for this school which is the reason and motivation why we all ran and why we want to change things.”

The lone vote of opposition was made by Silva Vaca, who has served on the board since 2014.

“I am sorry to say that I cannot help to feel that decisions made by this board are based on a personal agenda and not made on this district’s students’ benefit,” said Vaca. “I fear under the new leadership our district will be both morally and, possibly, fiscally damaged but I will do my part, to the best of my ability, to shine a light on what is happening so that the children and their families and the whole community can hold this board accountable.”

Lampkin will be paid his base salary and benefits through Aug. 17, 2021, unless he becomes gainfully employed or begins drawing retirement benefits before that time.

According to the release, the WUSD Board has enlisted Bill Cornelius to serve as interim superintendent while the board “develops a recruitment plan to ensure the highest quality and experienced candidate to fill the superintendency permanently.”

Cornelius retired from his position as the Superintendent of Schools for Sutter County in 2016, after a 38-year career, which started in Maxwell and included stops at Our Lady of Lourdes School in Colusa, Pierce Junior High and High School in Arbuckle, and Williams, Live Oak and Biggs. He worked as a teacher, coach, counselor, principal and superintendent.

After retiring, Cornelius also served as the interim superintendent for the Colusa Unified School District September 2019 through February 2020 while that district sought out a permanent replacement.

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