William Penn Schools Chief Will Step Down Ann G. Waiters Is Retiring From The Troubled District. A Board Member Called Her ``extremely Successful.''

Posted: March 18, 1997

LANSDOWNE — Superintendent Ann G. Waiters will retire from the William Penn School District on June 30, it was announced yesterday.

Waiters, who has been superintendent since January 1994, said she wanted to spend more time with her family.

``I'm looking forward to a personal life again,'' said the veteran administrator, who described herself as ``in my 50s.''

Waiters was a regional superintendent in the Philadelphia School District before being hired in William Penn. She has worked in the state's public-education system for more than 30 years. Her salary is $95,424 a year.

Waiters' departure could leave the district without a superintendent until the fall or beyond, said school board member John P. McKelligott. Waiters will work as acting superintendent on a per-diem basis after June 30, when her contract expires.

McKelligott called Waiters' term ``extremely successful,'' adding: ``It ended on a strong note.'' He said a search for a replacement would begin soon and would reach ``as far and as wide as appropriate.''

The unspoken concern among board members may be whether they can attract candidates who are up to the challenge of running troubled William Penn. In recent years, the district has been beset by teacher strikes, taxpayer revolts and tight cash. At the end of the last school year, an exodus of teachers left the district scrambling to fill almost 30 positions.

In October, teachers went on strike after more than two years of failed negotiations with the school board. The walkout lasted two weeks.

McKelligott said the district had put the strike and some other key problems behind it, and had been working on long-range educational improvements.

``We would hope that we'll be attractive'' to prospective candidates for superintendent, he said.

``We want someone with the vision and sensitivity to build bridges amongst our diverse groups,'' he added. About 60 percent of the district's 5,000 students are black. The district comprises Aldan, Colwyn, Darby, East Lansdowne, Lansdowne and Yeadon.

Waiters said she believed she had put the district on the road to improvement with the planned creation of a ninth-grade center, the planned restructuring of Penn Wood High School, and the establishment of the Penn Wood Foundation, an organization charged with raising funds for educational needs.

She said she regretted that she would not be present to see those projects through.

``The children at William Penn are wonderful,'' she said.

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