Mary Moran had an 18-year tenure as the Rutland city schools superintendent, but her replacement only lasted one.

Adam Taylor, who came to Rutland from California when he was hired to take over following Moran's retirement, was nearing the end of his first school year at Rutland when he addressed a group of Castleton University education students as part of a Black History Month even.

Taylor, who is African-American, told the students he was going to use an analogy from his hometown of Oakland to describe the sorts of relationships they would need to forge with their own students once they became teachers.

"A pimp has to groom, he has to get to know a young lady in order to get her to go out and sell her body to get him money,” Taylor said. “It’s about building that relationship that then gets her to go out and do something that she would not do ... it’s a foul analogy, but it makes sense. It’s about building the relationship. Similar to a Catholic priest ... similar to a pedophile ... it’s about building those relationships where there’s trust, where I will do whatever you ask me to.”

The remarks drew a lot of attention — none of it positive. They were quoted in Harper's magazine and went viral online.

Taylor apologized. A short time later the school board established a committee to renegotiate his contract and develop an improvement plan — though nobody on the board said the move was tied to his remarks in Castleton. By the end of the summer, Taylor was on an indefinite leave of absence.

To take the school into the coming year, the board looked to the past — former Superintendent David Wolk, who went on from the city schools to run the Vermont Department of Education and then Castleton University — came out of retirement to take up his old job on an interim basis.

— Gordon Dritschilo

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City Reporter

Gordon has been a reporter for the Rutland Herald for nearly 20 years. A Castleton State College graduate, he's covered beats from the West county to the city, cops and courts and everything in between.

(2) comments


Really appreciate Gordon D’s reporting. He has really good insight and gives us a real picture of the story he is telling.

Happy New Year !

nancy boynton

The school district was trying to diversify our community, and Vermonters aren't ready for that. Adam Taylor was from a rough part of the country, but we are still primarily a white state and our needs aren't being met by trying to met by trying to turn our city into a place where shootings are the norm rather than the exception!

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