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Philadelphia School District Superintendent Dr. William Hite Will Not Seek Contract Renewal After School Year

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) -- School District of Philadelphia Superintendent Dr. William Hite will not seek a contract renewal after this year. Hite's contract expires in August 2022.

"After much reflection, I've decided not to renew my contract when it expires in August 2022," Hite said.

Hite made the unexpected announcement in a video released Monday night.

"Till then, while we have a lot to be grateful and appreciative for we have a lot of work to do," Hite said.

A message from the Superintendent Hite by The School District of Philadelphia on YouTube

Hite was flanked by Mayor Jim Kenney and city school board members on Tuesday, making it clear during the official announcement that it was his decision not to seek a contract renewal.

"After a lot of personal reflection, I chose not to pursue a renewal of my contract and that's my choice," Hite said Tuesday. "Ten years is a long time to be doing this type of work and many individuals in my position don't have the opportunity and privilege to actually serve districts that long. I will continue to serve the district as superintendent through August of 2022 and I remain 100% committed to leading the important work ahead during the next year."

On Tuesday, parents dropping their kids off at Masterman were shocked and confused, but some very understanding of Hite's decision after nine years to not seek a new contract.

"Good luck to him, I wish him all the best," one parent said.

Another added that it is his choice not to seek renewal for his contract.

Hite says "there's been a lot going on and I think people are ready for a change."

Maureen Maier says the district has faced its challenges outside of the pandemic.

"Building quality, communication, transportation, lots of stuff," Maier said.

Carlos Orozco added that some of the buildings are old.

"Too many red tape, they have the teacher union, you have the government, you have the state, too much going on," Orozco said.

Councilmember Helen Gym also weighed in on the announcement on social media.

"Time for new leadership. I'll be fighting to make sure the public shapes the vision for the next superintendent who truly focuses on equity, quality, and rebuilding a public trust that has been broken time and again," Gym's tweet read.

Hite was hired by the district in 2012 to lead Pennsylvania's largest school district.

In Hite's message to the public, he did not disclose why this will be his last year in charge of the state's largest school district.

"Until then, let's make this a great year for our children," Hite said.

Before coming to Philadelphia, Hite served as the superintendent of Prince George's County Public Schools in Maryland and attended Virginia Tech and the University of Virginia.

"His diligent leadership in service of our city's children for nearly a decade has made it possible for Philadelphia schools to begin a new chapter," Kenney said.

The new chapter to find his replacement will start immediately with school board members casting a wide national net. Public sessions involving teachers, students, parents and community members will help guide the search.

"Beginning in October, Oct. 11 specifically, the board will host 17 public sessions in 18 days," Board of Education Vice President Leticia Egea-Hinton said.

CBS3's Natasha Brown contributed to this report.

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