FORT WORTH (CBSDFW.COM) – The educational future of nearly 80-thousand Fort Worth students is temporarily in the hands of someone new.

37-year district veteran Walter Dansby took over as interim superintendent of the Fort Worth School District following a unanimous vote by board members to accept current superintendent Melody Johnson’s resignation.

Dansby’s new position will pay him $270,000, a $57,000 raise from his current salary as deputy superintendent.  Dansby tried to refuse the raise, offering it up to save other district employees from layoffs, but the board approved the money anyway.

The appointment came after about a half hour of public comments that included several people who questioned Dansby’s credentials.

It also came on a day when preliminary results of the TAKS tests showed at least 22 schools are expected to be ranked as academically unacceptable, and possibly as many as 42.

Dansby currently leads the districts capital improvement program, but he said his classroom experience should come back quickly.

“Well you never lose that and it comes right back to you after you start talking about it,” he said. “I was associate superintendent of instructional teams for probably about 6 years.”

Johnson, who submitted her resignation last month, left to compliments from board members and a standing ovation.  She said the district is ‘poised for greatness.’

“I feel very very good about the great progress and the great gains made across the board and that is a credit to the people in the school and the district doing the work every day,” she told the board and the public at the meeting.

Dansby becomes the first African American superintendent in Fort Worth.  It’s not certain how long he will be in the position.

The board agreed to undertake a national search for a permanent successor.  Some members estimated that could cost more than $100,000.

More From CBS Dallas / Fort Worth

Drip Pan: CBS Local App
Drip Pan: Weather App

Watch & Listen LIVE