Don Owen

Credit: News Gazette

URBANA, Ill. (WAND) -Former Urbana schools superintendent Don Owen is resigning from the district.

Owen was ousted and replaced as superintendent by the district nine months ago over failing to follow the school board's directives.

Owen sent a letter to the school board president stating his last day with the district would be Friday, the News Gazette reports.

“The actions of the Board of Education related to its treatment of black and brown students, families, teachers, administrators and educational support staff is the primary reason for my decision,” he wrote in the letter to board President John Dimit and district officials. “As a professional, I have always believed that failure, for any student, is not an option.”

Owen had been in a teaching position after being demoted from superintendent. 

The News Gazette reports he clashed with the board over his accelerated rollout of district-wide restorative justice efforts that began in March 2018.

The board voted last November to put Owen on paid leave.

He was officially demoted this summer.

Jennifer Ivory-Tatum was named the new permanent superintendent in May.

Owen was assigned as the teacher in Urbana High School's Restorative U room. That is where students serve in-school suspensions.

However, Owen said he decided instead to resign from education after reaching his 30-year mark this month.

Owen wrote in his letter that he, “will continue to promote racial equity, and I will continue to strive to dismantle practices and policies that intentionally or unintentionally marginalize and alienate students and families.”

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