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DCPS official hits big in Charles Town

Anyone working in the top ranks of the D.C. public schools for close to a decade has to be comfortable with long odds. But Instructional Superintendent William Wilhoyte was looking at about a 1-in-7-million chance when he dropped a quarter into the "Royal Spins Deluxe" slot machine on March 7 at Charletown Town Races and Slots in West Virginia. He hit a jackpot just short of $2.6 million.

"It's exhilarating, for sure, but also a bit embarrassing," he said in a Wednesday morning e-mail. His windfall was first reported by The Falls Church News-Press. He called the slots "a mindless activity in which one puts money into machine and pushes a button and hopes that somehow one will beat the odds. Not the most intellectual of activities, but then there's the 2.6."

Wilhoyte, brought to DCPS in 2002 by former Superintendent Paul Vance from a top post in Montgomery County, oversees 23 schools, including all middle and special education schools. His wife, Cheryl Wilhoyte, is principal at Brent Elementary on Capitol Hill. Asked his age, he'll say only "young at heart," although he is probably north of 65. He says he has no immediate plans to retire.

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By Bill Turque  |  March 24, 2010; 3:00 AM ET
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The Wilhoyte's are GREAT people and I couldn't be happier for them.

Posted by: danielholt | March 24, 2010 2:00 PM | Report abuse

I remember Mr. Wilhoyte helping out when we had a principal who was not good for our school community. I have a lot of respect for the man, so it's nice to learn that he won a lot of money!

Posted by: dccitizen1 | March 24, 2010 4:14 PM | Report abuse

how exciting! I saw Cheryl at Brent on Friday and she seemed a bit "bouncier" than her typical happy self, but she didn't say a word! Hope for the sake of Brent this doesn't lead to early retirement of Principal Wilhoyte!

anyway, good for them!

Posted by: captiolhillmom | March 24, 2010 4:22 PM | Report abuse


Is this the same Wilhoyte (the principal) who was fired by Janey and rehired by Rhee.

Perhaps Wilhoyte can donate some money to the many people he helped get fired.

Some will say his role in the DCPS is "a mindless activity."

Posted by: fmurray20011 | March 24, 2010 5:07 PM | Report abuse

Do you believe those Mr. W. "helped" to fire were canned for no good reason? Say, lousy principals, teachers with inadequate skills or commitment to educate the kids and improve themselves, all those fatties in the C.O. who screwed up book distribution, school repairs, payroll, procurement, etc.? Or do they have lifetime employment guarantees, in your view? If the concern is with firing, is it still okay to do performance evals? to have CO employees who can describe their duties? We can't make important, positive changes in DCPS without getting some energetic, better performing people than the large numbers of DCPS employees who gave us the lont-time failing system that Rhee was hired to turn around. Can't blame it on parents. Can't blame it on a plot, for goodness sake. We have had home rule since the early seventies.

Posted by: axolotl | March 24, 2010 7:25 PM | Report abuse

That's nice for Dr. Wilhoyte. Maybe DCPS can take this lesson and turn-it into an academy for a school. Here's a suggestion call it "The 1-in-7 Million Academy." I am sensing that many DCPS schools are planning end of the year activities for their teachers and staff and no doubt Charlestown Races will be high on the list as places to visit.

Posted by: PowerandPride | March 25, 2010 8:48 AM | Report abuse

For Wilhoyte to survive DCPS from Vance to Rhee, the guy must be one he11 of a poker player!!!!

The wife "resigned" under Janey. To see her back in the system is a shock.

Posted by: oknow1 | March 25, 2010 10:53 AM | Report abuse

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