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Board accepts Tiller's resignation at special meeting, community responds

Claude Tiller Jr.'s resignation announced following comments on Atlanta radio show
GBAPS Meeting Feb. 17, 2024
Posted at 3:17 PM, Feb 17, 2024

GREEN BAY (NBC26) — The Green Bay School Board's special meeting was in a closed session as it discussed Superintendent Claude Tiller, Jr.

The board returned to open session after more than two-and-a-half hours, and announced Tiller's resignation. The board accepted his resignation in a 7-0 vote, then promptly adjourned the meeting.

Tiller was placed on paid administrative leave Tuesday following comments he made on an Atlanta radio show.

The meeting began at 2 p.m. Saturday and the board immediately entered a closed session. Just after 4:45 p.m., Tiller's resignation was announced.

Outrage among concerned citizens at the meeting erupted immediately after the school board announced their decision.

“I’m letting y'all know that this is not a safe place for our kids,” Tiller supporter Robin Scott said.

Scott and other Tiller supporters said they believe he was pressured into resigning and the investigation was racially-motivated.

"You are not just failing Green Bay, Wisconsin,” Scott said. “You are failing the Black community. And this is racism. So for all the people who don't think, or quickly say racism is still not happening, look at it. It's happening right here in your backyard."

Tiller was placed on paid administrative leave Tuesday following comments he made on an Atlanta radio show.

The school district released a statement about the decision that said, in part: "The Board and Dr. Tiller, Jr. have mutually agreed to the terms of Dr. Tiller, Jr.’s resignation from the District. Both Dr. Tiller, Jr. and the District have agreed that this is the best course of action for both parties. The Board and District wish to express their gratitude to Dr. Tiller for his many contributions to the Green Bay Area Public School District and wish him well in his future endeavors.”

Two board members stayed behind after the meeting to talk with the public.

"We accepted a resignation tonight and that's the extent of what can be said right now,” GBAPS board member Andrew Becker said.

Laura Laitinen-Warren said she was sad to see Tiller go, but had to accept the resignation.

"He submitted the resignation [...] if that was the choice that he made based on what was going on, I think, I respect that,” Laitinen-Warren said.

But many Tiller supporters called for the board members to resign.

“I am going to make sure that the community mobilizes so that we go let the parents know what the district has done today, matter of fact, what they didn't do, which is defend him,” Tiller supporter Stephanie Guzman said.

During the closed session, dozens of concerned citizens waited at the District Office building for the return to open session. Several spoke in support of Tiller.

"I can say when I heard that Claude Tiller was appointed, I was so thankful because I had been craving that sort of diversity and that sort of support from my community," said Rissel Peguero Almonte, a former Green Bay public schools student. "There are a lot of kids of color, and not enough teachers of color."

Another former GBAPS student, Stephanie Guzman, requested more transparency from the board.

"There's parents who want to be aware of what what's going on, and they're not," Guzman said. "The way that they do things just does not allow for that kind of diversity, inclusion, engagement, equity and excellence. I mean, don't put it on your wall if you're not going to follow through."

The board also held a closed-door meeting Thursday night but no action was taken. Multiple community members defended the superintendent outside of the meeting.

An attorney tells NBC 26 that in compliance with open records law, the District plans to release Tiller's interview recording on Wednesday, Feb. 21.

NBC 26 reached out to Tiller for comment, but he has not yet responded.

Tiller began his role as GBAPS superintendent last July. He was the first Black superintendent in the district's history.