The event was billed as a celebration of her accomplishments but felt more like a funeral — with a program, prayers, dinner, tearful testimonies, gospel hymnals and an overwhelming sense of loss.
“It’s not fair for little Black girls to see people like us come in and be so powerful, and see them taken away — it does something to us, mentally,” said Ms. Wright, who recently started college at Lincoln University, a historically Black institution in Pennsylvania.
Ms. Betley was preparing to start a new job in the district: equity teacher specialist. “This whole thing has made my role even more important,” she said, “but on a personal level, I’m terrified.”
Over the summer, the board moved to reverse Dr. Kane’s actions. The administrator she had fired for making racist statements was rehired, and the watered-down equity policy passed unanimously.
This summer, Ms. Schifanelli spoke at events recounting her yearlong battle with Dr. Kane and her supporters. At an August rally for a Republican candidate in the Maryland governor’s race, she boasted about how the Kent Island Patriots’ school board write-in campaign “had 12,000 people standing strong against critical race theory in public schools.” Last month, that candidate, a Maryland state lawmaker, chose Ms. Schifanelli as his running mate. The following week, Facebook banned the Kent Island Patriots group, citing its standards on “dangerous individuals and organizations.”
Dr. Kane is now a professor of practice at the University of Pennsylvania Graduate School of Education, training the next generation of superintendents.
As she prepared to leave the county’s central office for the last time in June, she held a vase of flowers in one arm and embraced her successor with the other. She told the new superintendent, a white woman the board hired from another Eastern Shore district, that she was a phone call away. Before walking out of the building, she adjusted the mask on her face, which was emblazoned with the words Black Lives Matter.