School & District Management

Former Los Angeles Leader Joins Broad Center as Superintendent-in-Residence

By Denisa R. Superville — January 13, 2015 2 min read
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John Deasy, the former superintendent in Los Angeles, will join the Broad Center for the Management of School Systems as a consultant serving as superintendent-in-residence.

Deasy, who resigned under pressure from LAUSD in October, joins John O. Simpson, a former Norfolk, Va., superintendent, who is serving in a similar capacity at the center.

As superintendent-in-residence, Deasy will provide “executive coaching” and other professional development for Broad graduates who are leading urban school systems, the center said in a press release on its website last week.

(The news was first reported this week by the Los Angeles Times.)

Deasy is no stranger to Broad: He is a graduate of the Broad Academy, which trains educators and non educators to work as superintendents in urban school districts.

“John Deasy’s long history of boosting opportunity and achievement for all kids is a testimony to his relentless drive for social justice and fundamental belief in what’s possible when school systems are organized around what is best for students,” Christina Heitz, the managing director of The Broad Academy, said in the press release announcing the appointment.

Deasy resigned from the Los Angeles district last fall after losing support of some of the district’s school board members and many of the district’s teachers. But Deasy retained strong support of many in the community, including business leaders, who saw him as moving the district in the right direction.

His departure came after a botched rollout of an ambitious $1.3 billion one-to-one digital program, which was intended to put a digital device into the hands of all of the district’s students. (A federal investigation into the technology initiative is under way.)

Under Deasy, Los Angeles’ four-year high school graduation rate reached a record high and test scores increased for all groups of students. Enrollment in Advanced Placement classes also increased under Deasy’s leadership, according to the Broad Center.

The Broad Center cited Deasy’s “youth-first” agenda in Los Angeles, which it said was credited for “reversing the district’s school-to-prison pipeline, raising achievement and helping more students graduate ready for college and the workplace.”

The center also highlighted changes to annual teacher evaluations under Deasy’s watch.

“What an honor and important responsibility to support leaders doing some of the most difficult and important work in our country,” Deasy said in the statement. “I am humbled to do for others what people did for me.”

In addition to serving in Los Angeles, Deasy worked as superintendent in Prince George’s County, Md.; the Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District in Calif.; and Coventry Public Schools in Rhode Island. He also briefly worked for the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

Other superintendents who have taken on the superintendent-in-residence role at the Broad Center include Thomas Payzant, a former superintendent in the Boston and San Diego school districts, and the late Arlene Ackerman, who was a superintendent in the District of Columbia, San Francisco and Philadelphia.

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