Home Wisconsin Green Bay school board’s only person of color resigns

Green Bay school board’s only person of color resigns


Dr. Laura Laitinen-Warren, a member of the Oneida Nation, resigned from the Greater  Green Bay Area Public School District Board of Education on Saturday.

In a letter to board president Laura McCoy, Laitinen-Warren said she needed “to reallocate my time and energy to areas where I can have a more direct and impactful role in effecting positive change within our community.”

Laitinen-Warren’s resignation comes one week after the resignation of former superintendent Dr. Claude Tiller after only seven months on the job. Tiller, the district’s first Black superintendent, resigned under pressure after appearing on a radio show in Atlanta with a Black host who described Green Bay as “lily white,” to which Tiller replied, “the lily on top of the lily.” Later, while the radio show was in a commercial break but the station’s Facebook Live feed was still broadcasting, Tiller was speaking about a Black teacher who was struggling in his work environment, and referred to the teacher’s principal as a “wicked witch.”

The school district has not said specifically what was under investigation.

Laitinen-Warren said Tiller’s resignation, which she joined the rest of the board in voting to accept, was not the sole reason for her decision to resign.

“It’s one contributing factor of many,” she told Madison365 in an interview Monday.

“I think I can make a bigger difference working at a grassroots level, or continuing to volunteer,” she said. “The amount of time that I’ve spent in trying to work for positive change at the policy board level has taken a little bit away from other areas where I really started to be involved in the community. And I just want to go back to that.”

She said Tiller’s resignation was “a huge loss.”

“I’ve said that from the beginning, him being gone as a is a huge loss for a district,” she said. “It’s unfortunate that he’s, he’s no longer with the district. And I wish him well. We need somebody that can continue the work he was doing, for sure.”

Green Bay’s population is 66.6 percent white and not Latino, while 62 percent of the school district’s student population is made up of students of color.

Laitinen-Warren’s seat will be filled by an appointed member for the final year of her term.