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