FORT WORTH (CBSDFW.COM) – Walter Dansby acknowledges he is the first African-American superintendent in Fort Worth’s history. But he’s quick to point out, that is not why he is the new superintendent.
“My past experience and the work that I’ve done, my work ethic, the integrity that I bring to my office, that’s what qualifies me for the job,” Dansby said. “The knowledge that I have of this district. The knowledge I have of curriculum instruction.”
Dansby has been in the Fort Worth school system all his life, and his office walls are lined with the mementos to prove it.
There is a small piece of the hardwood floor he played basketball on while he was a student at Dunbar High School sitting on top of a trophy case. There are awards and photos from the 38 years he spent as coach, teacher and principal in the system.
Dansby is surrounded by a history of Fort Worth education. Even the colorful, striped couch that sits against a wall has history; It’s from his old principal’s office at O.D. Wyatt high school.
The drive Dansby has as an educator was inspired by the teachers in his youth. And his biggest teacher was his father.
“My father passed away at 95-years-old and he never stopped being a parent,” Dansby said. “I went to him as long as I possibly could for all types of advice and inspiration. I needed and he’s still listening to me.”
Dansby proudly pointed out a proclamation issued by The City of Fort Worth recognizing his father’s role as a businessman and spiritual leader in the Stop Six Neighborhood. The superintendent fondly remembers the days of hard work with his father cleaning up on construction sites and how his father and mother were always ready to help their neighbors in need with a small loan or a ride to another part of town if someone needed it.
Dansby wants children in the district to have the same types of positive role models. One of his biggest goals: Getting parents more closely involved in their children’s education. “A lot of times people are afraid because they don’t know what they can do,” Dansby said. “My thought is just do what you can. Just being present sometimes can make a world of difference to a child, just your presence.”