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Year's end saw a number of changes in the ranks of the nation's state education chiefs.

Governor-elect Christine Todd Whitman of New Jersey has named Leo Klagholz to become the state's next education commissioner. If approved by the Senate, Mr. Klagholz will replace Mary Lee Fitzgerald.

In Illinois, Superintendent of Education Robert Leininger has announced his retirement, effective Feb. 28. The state board of education will choose his replacement.

Commissioner of Education Betty Castor of Florida has resigned to become the president of the University of South Florida. State Rep. Douglas L. "Tim'' Jamerson, an African-American Democrat from St. Petersburg, will serve the year remaining in Ms. Castor's four-year elective term.

Gov. Terry E. Branstad of Iowa late last month picked Al Ramirez to serve as the director of education for Iowa. Mr. Ramirez replaces William L. Lepley.

In Tennessee, Wayne Qualis will be the new commissioner of education. Gov. Ned McWherter last month named Mr. Qualis to replace Charles E. Smith.

Compton Schools: J. Jerome Harris, a former superintendent of the Atlanta schools, has been named by California state officials to head the troubled Compton school district.

As superintendent of the Atlanta school system from 1988 to 1990, Mr. Harris pursued a controversial "top down'' management style. He was eventually fired by the school board, which cited a lack of "mutual trust and cooperation.'' (See Education Week, May 3, 1989.)

New Detroit Superintendent: The Detroit board of education last month called off a national search for a new superintendent and named David L. Snead, who had been serving as interim superintendent, to the job. Mr. Snead, a career Detroit educator, replaces Deborah McGriff, who resigned in October.

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