School & District Management

John Deasy Resigns Top Post in L.A.; Ramon C. Cortines to Be Interim Chief

By Lesli A. Maxwell — October 16, 2014 2 min read

Superintendent John Deasy has now officially resigned from Los Angeles Unified, bringing an end to an at-times tumultuous run as the chief of the nation’s second largest school district.

Deasy announced his resignation in a joint statement with the Los Angeles school board. The school board also announced that Ramon C. Cortines will serve as the district’s interim superintendent, effective Monday, Oct. 20. This will be Cortines’ third go-round as chief in L.A. Unified.

Here’s the joint statement from Deasy and the school board:

Today, Superintendent John Deasy tendered his resignation as General Superintendent of Schools from the District. We thank Dr. Deasy for over three years of devoted service to the District and its students. In that period of time, academic achievement rose substantially despite severe economic hardships, and the students of the District have benefitted greatly from Dr. Deasy’s guidance. We look forward to jointly celebrating all of the successes of our students that have occurred during Dr. Deasy’s tenure as Superintendent. While the District’s investigation into the Common Core Technology Project has not concluded, the Board wishes to state that at this time, it does not believe that the Superintendent engaged in any ethical violations or unlawful acts, and the Board anticipates that the Inspector General’s report will confirm this. We further jointly desire a smooth transition in leadership. Towards that end, Dr. Deasy has agreed to remain on special assignment with the District until December 31, 2014.

Deasy’s resignation is hardly a surprise, and last night, both the Los Angeles Times and LA School Report reported that he had already worked out his departure agreement with the board and would make the announcement today.

The school district also posted Deasy’s full resignation letter on its website.

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

Photo credit: Los Angeles Unified Superintendent John Deasy listens during a 2012 board meeting in Los Angeles. --Damian Dovarganes/AP-File

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