Several local community and advocacy groups have banded together to release a statement in support of Williamson County Schools Superintendent Jason Golden as the Board of Education gets ready to vote on an extension to his contract at Monday’s monthly meeting.
Jennifer Cortez, a parent of WCS students and a co-founder of the nonprofit One WillCo, said the joint statement was issued in response to recent actions from groups that have voiced opposition to Golden’s proposed contract extension.
Moms for Liberty and Recall Williamson are two organizations that have taken a stance against WCS measures such as the alleged implementation of critical race theory in the school curriculum, the Wit & Wisdom curriculum currently in use in the lower grades, and the mask mandate the board voted to put in place for the 2020-21 school year.
“We have been seeing in our community efforts to pressure the school board to not reinstate Superintendent Golden,” Cortez said, “so we want to be really clear that our organizations think he’s doing an amazing job and we stand with him. It’s really in response to things we’ve been hearing.”
Golden signed a four-year contract two years ago when he was approved by the board to replace Mike Looney as district superintendent, and that contract was extended one year in 2020.
Board members will vote on Golden’s contract extension at Monday’s meeting.
"Moms for Liberty is not in support of Jason Golden's contract to be extended for a number of reasons," said Robin Steenman, Williamson County chair for the national nonprofit.
More than 30 speakers participated in the public comment section of the May meeting, and it’s likely the auditorium of the Williamson County Administrative Complex will be packed with speakers and others Monday.
“We hear that folks who are on different sides of things are going to be there really early,” said Cortez, who plans to speak. “You never really know what’s going to happen. Some of us are coming just to show our support.”
Groups joining One WillCo in issuing the statement are The Public, Franklin Justice and Equity Coalition, Williamson Social Justice Alliance, Together Nolensville, and Be the Bridge.
The statement is below:
Williamson County schools are the backbone of our community and an asset of which everyone who lives here benefits in one way or another. Superintendent Jason Golden has proven his commitment and capability in working diligently to provide every child with the learning environment they deserve.
As grassroots local organizations whose leaders and members have been working in Williamson County for many years, we are committed to advocating for and supporting those in positions to positively influence the direction of our community so that it’s a safe, welcoming, and inclusive place for all.
We stand in support of Jason Golden and ask the Williamson County School Board to renew his contract on Monday, June 21st, 2021 in recognition of his steady leadership in the face of an unprecedented global pandemic, his commitment and actions in acknowledging and addressing the diversity challenges within the district, and his strong working relationships with the County Commissioners and other elected officials, after years of creating trust and rapport.
Our organizations collectively consist of hundreds of Williamson County residents who believe that the diversity of our community is a strength, and that we have a shared responsibility to promote and recognize the varied backgrounds, beliefs, and needs of our neighbors. We are, and have been for many years in some cases, advocating for a more inclusive and safe place to live, work, and raise families.
Williamson County Schools plays an enormously important role in the vision of a welcoming environment for all — no matter your race, ethnicity, gender, religion, sexuality, or family structure. We believe that every neighbor should be loved and accepted, but most of all safe and respected with fair and equitable treatment in their lives.
Jason Golden has shown he is committed to recognizing the various needs and challenges of our students and teachers, and will work to ensure our schools are safe environments where they can all work toward their best potential.
Renewing his contract will send a strong signal to our community that the Williamson County School Board agrees that all students deserve a focus on a safe learning environment, no matter who they are.