Hot Topics, December 1, 2016

Bowser Picks Oakland Educator for Chancellor’s Post

Antwan Wilson has been chosen by Mayor Muriel Bowser to lead DC Public Schools [DCPS] as the next Chancellor. Over the past two years, Bowser has worked to expand learning opportunities for students throughout the District. With increased enrollment and graduation rates and increased academic achievement, DCPS continues to be on the country’s fastest-improving urban school districts.

She says Wilson’s experiences make him well-qualified to build on the Districts’ successes while focusing more attention on closing D.C.’s opportunity gap.

“In his 20 plus years in education, Antwan Wilson has been a teacher, a principal, an assistant superintendent and a superintendent, and at every level, he has been successful,” Bowser said. “Not only is he an experienced leader, he is a role model for our students. His success proves that with hard work, they can achieve what they set out to do.”

Wilson joins DCPS from Oakland, California, where he is serving as Superintendent of the Oakland Unified School District (OUSD). There he developed a strategic plan focused on effective talent development, accountable school site support and quality school development. In his first year alone, the graduation rate increased by almost four percentage points.

“My life has been dedicated to students and ensuring they have the resources and the support they need to succeed in life,” Wilson said. “I am honored to join the District’s stellar education team and look forward to working with the community to build on the recent DCPS successes.”

His nomination will be sent to the Council for confirmation; he will begin full time on February 1.


Low-Wage Airport Workers Rally for ‘Fight for $15’

Janitors, baggage handlers and other service workers rallied Tuesday, Nov. 29 at Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport in Arlington, Virginia, to have the minimum wage increased to $15 per hour. The several hundred airport workers and supporters joined other low-wage employees in more than 300 other cities in rallying cry called “National Day of Disruption.” National Airport workers have also fought at least 1½ years to form a union. After gathering inside, workers and supporters marched outside to deliver petitions to the Washington Metropolitan Airport Authority office for its board to approve wage increases for employees.

“This airport would not function if it wasn’t for you. People would not be able to go and enjoy the holidays if it wasn’t for you,” said Graylan Hagler, pastor of Plymouth Congregational United Church of Christ in Northeast. “You have the power to bring justice to your family and this community.”


U.S. Marks 75th Anniversary of Pearl Harbor Attack

Hundreds of Pearl Harbor survivors and other World War II veterans, along with their families, will travel to Hawaii, or holding commemorative events in their own cities, to honor those killed in action.

Dec. 7, 2016 is the 75th anniversary of the attack on Oahu that propelled the United States into the Second World War. The theme is “Honoring the Past, Inspiring the Future.” The Navy and National Park Service’s cornerstone event is the Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day ceremony at Kilo Pier. For many of the WWII vets, now in their 90s or in some cases over 100, this may well be their last time to visit the memorial. We wish them well and offer our continued gratitude for their service to our country.


Holiday Bazaar to Feature D.C. Students’ Products

BUIILD Metro DC returns for its ninth annual holiday sales bazaar, giving DCPS high school juniors the opportunity to pivot their businesses by selling their newly-launched products. The event kicks off Wednesday, Dec. 7 from 6 to 8 p.m. The bazaar will take place at the Impact Hub DC, 419 7th Street, NW.

Headquartered in Adams Morgan, BUILD has become a critical feature for the city in engaging students from under-resourced communities through our four-year entrepreneurship, business development, and post-secondary readiness model. In partnership with DCPS and charter schools, serving over 300 students at seven high schools in the District. They operate school-based business incubators in which more than 40 student business teams launch and run their very own startups. BUILD staff and volunteers cultivate our students’ business, academic, and life skills to prepare them for high school, college, and career success. For more information, visit www.build.org.

About D. Kevin McNeir – Washington Informer Editor 158 Articles

Award-winning journalist, book editor, voice-over specialist and author with 17 years in the industry. Currently an education and religion beat reporter for The Washington Informer. But I also tackle local (D.C. and Maryland) politics, entertainment, business and health articles to maintain my edge.

Born and raised in Motown and a staunch Wolverine – that is a graduate of the University of Michigan, I left corporate America (IBM) to pursue my passion for writing, accepting a beat reporter’s gig under the tutelage of the late Sam Logan, founding publisher of the Michigan Chronicle. I continued to hone my craft at N’DIGO Magapaper, Windy City Times and The Wednesday Journal, all in Chicagoland; the Atlanta Voice and The Miami Times. I’ve been fortunate to be chosen twice as the Feature Writer of the Year by the Chicago Association of Black Journalists. Later, as the senior editor of one of the country’s oldest Black-owned newspapers, The Miami Times, I helped my staff bring home the NNPA’s highest honor – Publication of the Year, 2001. That same year I picked up first and second place awards for news and feature writing, respectively, also from the NNPA.

Today I’m based in the nation’s capital where I’m honored to serve as the editor for The Washington Informer. Recognizing the importance of education, I’ve earned two master’s degrees from Emory University, Summa Cum Laude and Princeton Theological Seminary, majoring in theology and philosophy.

If I can slow down, I may actually complete and publish a collection of essays I’ve been working on for many years, “Growing up Motown,” sharing childhood memories of experiences with musical legends like Marvin Gaye, Kim Weston, the Four Tops, the Miracles, Gladys Knight and Take Six. My favorite foods: spinach, lasagna, pancakes and Oysters Rockefeller. My mom, 86, always my “best friend” and “cheerleader,” now lives with me and she brings me great joy. I’m a fiercely protective yet encouraging father and grandfather always down for traveling, shopping or celebrating the natural beauty of God’s world. I live by the following words: “Less is more” and “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.”

You can reach me on Twitter (@dkevinmcneir), Facebook (Kevin McNeir) or via e-mail, mcneirdk@washingtoninformer.com