SOE News

William Malloy retires

As he contemplated his retirement effective July 1, 2007, Professor William Malloy felt grateful for the opportunities that came his way during his 44-year career in education.

“I have been fortunate enough to accomplish everything I had wanted to accomplish,” Malloy commented. “When I sit back and reflect, I can truly say that every job I have ever had has been the best position.”

Those positions began with a five-year stint as a special education teacher in Pennsylvania. Malloy then moved into special education administration, serving as director of special education services in Gary, Ind., and subsequently in the major urban district of Dade County, Fla.

With his next opportunity, he advanced to the post of assistant superintendent of special education and support services in Milwaukee, Wis., where he served for 12 years.

Desiring to honor his family’s North Carolina roots and give back to the South, Malloy joined the administration of Durham Public Schools in 1989, serving as deputy superintendent of educational programs and services.

He made his final career move into higher education when he came to the School of Education at Carolina in 1992 and began teaching and mentoring graduate students in educational administration and leadership.   

Among the many challenges along the way, the toughest one came in Milwaukee, Malloy recalled. “The district had been declared in noncompliance with the federal mandates related to providing programs for special education children. Children were in special education longer than they should be. A disproportionate number of African American males were in special education classes. The district had to come into compliance within three years or face severe consequences.”

The challenge of bringing the district into compliance fell to Malloy.

“The biggest piece of the task was to make people understand that the noncompliance was a systemic issue, not just a special education issue,” Malloy explained. It took him about a year to convince his colleagues to take ownership of the problem.          

“When my colleagues realized that we needed to have more services for all children at risk, they stopped making so many referrals to special education,” he said. “At that point, we were able to begin shaping a program that would benefit not only special education children but all at-risk children in the district.”

In his 15 years at the School of Education, Malloy an associate professor of educational leadership has taught others how to do what he accomplished as a practicing administrator.

“In the past, an individual who wanted to be an administrator focused on learning to run a school, be a good disciplinarian, things of that sort,” Malloy noted. “Now people have to do more than become knowledgeable about their craft; they also need to be willing to share the power in order to get things done. Today’s leaders need to be reflective, approachable and creative in getting people to be a part of the direction of an organization.” 

Those concepts figured prominently into Malloy’s work with his graduate students, who hoped to become educational leaders. His students learned to look critically at the systems in which they operate and discover which parts of the systems are good for children and which parts are not.

“Our students learned how to be change agents,” Malloy remarked. “We taught them how to ask the right questions.”    

Working with graduate students, Malloy said, has been a particularly fulfilling experience for him.

“I have been fortunate to have many opportunities throughout my career to work on assisting individuals and making education better for children. To give this many good years of service has been very rewarding.

“But serving as a mentor to the 30 doctoral students whose dissertation research I have chaired, teaching them, learning from them, shaping their development into young professionals ─ these opportunities have been a huge reward for me.

“Those students really are my legacy.”