School & District Management

Black Lives Matter Activist Appointed to Baltimore Schools Cabinet

By Corey Mitchell — June 29, 2016 1 min read
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Incoming Baltimore city schools chief executive officer Sonja Santelises has appointed DeRay Mckesson one of the most recognizable leaders in the Black Lives Matter movement, to serve as interim chief human capital officer for the district.

The school board approved the hire Tuesday. The Baltimore Sun reports that Mckesson, who will earn a salary of $165,000, will be the district’s third chief of human capital in two years, and manage of a budget of $4 million and 56 employees.

Mckesson’s office will be responsible for staffing schools and dealing with reforms. The new gig allows Mckesson, a Baltimore native, to return to his roots. He worked in the school system from August 2011 to December 2013 as human capital specialist and later as special assistant to the chief human capital officer, where he “was responsible for coordinating and directing a broad range of human capital functions,” according to a press release from the school district.

“Our schools must be fully staffed and completely prepared for the first day of school,” Santelises said in a prepared statement. “We have no time to waste. Every day in class is precious for our students, and every school must be ready to go when the opening bell rings. Mr. Mckesson has the hand-on experience, leadership skills, and energy to help us make that happen.”

After leaving the Baltimore schools in December 2013, he served as an administrator in the Minneapolis school system. He’s also a former Teach for America corps member.

Mckesson went to Ferguson, Mo., amid racial unrest in the city after Michael Brown, an unarmed black teenager, was fatally shot by a white police officer. His work there catapulted him to national prominence as an advocate against police violence.

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A version of this news article first appeared in the District Dossier blog.