School & District Management News in Brief

Deasy Resigns as L.A. Chief; Cortines Takes Interim Helm

By Lesli A. Maxwell — October 21, 2014 1 min read
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Superintendent John Deasy resigned last week from the Los Angeles Unified School District, bringing an end to an at-times tumultuous run as the chief of the nation’s second-largest district.

Replacing him as interim superintendent will be Ramon C. Cortines, who has twice previously served as the district’s schools chief.

“Our district is in good shape, fiscally, educationally, and in serving the many needs of our youth,” Mr. Deasy wrote in his resignation letter, which outlined numerous high points of his nearly four years as the district chief, including a major push to drive down the number of out-of-school suspensions and expulsions that disproportionately affected African-American and Latino students.

For months, the hard-charging Mr. Deasy has sparred with the school board, as well as United Teachers Los Angeles, over such issues as the botched rollout of a $1.3 billion iPad program and his leadership style that some critics contend has demoralized teachers and staff members.

In recent weeks, Mr. Deasy faced intense criticism for the failure of a new student-records system that left thousands of students without the classes they needed at the beginning of the school year.

Mr. Deasy, who has overseen a rise in graduation rates, higher test scores, and improvements for English-language learners, has kept strong support in the city’s civic and business communities. Previously, he worked for the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and served as superintendent for the Prince George’s County, Md., school district outside of Washington.

His contract would have run through June 2016; he will stay on as a consultant through the end of the year and receive more than $70,000.

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A version of this article appeared in the October 22, 2014 edition of Education Week as Deasy Resigns as L.A. Chief; Cortines Takes Interim Helm

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