School & District Management

Oakland’s Beleaguered Superintendent To Resign

By Kerry A. White — April 21, 1999 2 min read
  • Save to favorites
  • Print

Acceding to political pressure from California and city officials critical of the pace of reform in the Oakland schools, Superintendent Carole C. Quan announced her resignation last week.

Ms. Quan, 58, worked as a teacher and administrator in the district for 33 years before becoming the superintendent in September 1997. She was the first Asian-American woman to head the city’s school system.

Her departure, effective July 2, includes a cash settlement that will cover her $135,000 annual salary, accrued sick leave, and benefits she would have received if she had served the remainder of her contract, which was to expire in June 2000.

Ms. Quan did not return calls last week. But a district spokeswoman, Sue Piper, said that despite an outpouring of community support for Ms. Quan, “carrying this has been brutal for her.”

The superintendent had come under sharp criticism during the past several months for low student achievement and management troubles in the 54,000-student district. Since January, some school board members had openly sought her removal.

State lawmakers, meanwhile, have been considering legislation that would give recently elected Mayor Jerry Brown oversight of the city’s schools and the system’s $500 million annual budget. (“Oakland’s Jerry Brown Could Join Mayors With Power Over Schools,” March 3, 1999.)

Dan Siegel, a school board member elected last fall and one of Ms. Quan’s most vocal critics, characterized the past few months as “very difficult. There’s been a lot of public bloodletting.”

The superintendent’s announcement will allow the board, he said, “to search for a leader that will take the system out of the doldrums.”

Takeover Tabled

Ms. Quan’s April 13 resignation came one day before the education committee of the state Senate was scheduled to consider a plan that would give Mr. Brown, a prominent Democrat and former California governor, broad authority over the city schools.

But that plan, sponsored by state Sen. Don Perata, a Democrat whose district includes Oakland, was tabled last week.

With the prospects of a new superintendent and plans for an extensive state audit of the district’s finances, a spokesman for Mr. Perata said the senator “has no intention of moving the legislation right now.”

That’s just what Oakland school officials are hoping.

“We have raised the bar for everybody--students and staff. But it’s going to take time to meet new challenges,” Ms. Piper said. “We feel the same sense of urgency as everyone.”

Related Tags:

A version of this article appeared in the April 21, 1999 edition of Education Week as Oakland’s Beleaguered Superintendent To Resign


This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Recruitment & Retention Webinar
Exploring Staff Shortage Impact on Education
Learn about the impact of staff shortages, changing roles of educators, and how technology supports teachers & students.
Content provided by Promethean
This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Assessment Webinar
Improving Outcomes on State Assessments with Data-Driven Strategies
State testing is around the corner! Join us as we discuss how teachers can use formative data to drive improved outcomes on state assessments.
Content provided by Instructure
This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Equity & Diversity Webinar
Classroom Strategies for Building Equity and Student Confidence
Shape equity, confidence, and success for your middle school students. Join the discussion and Q&A for proven strategies.
Content provided by Project Lead The Way

EdWeek Top School Jobs

Teacher Jobs
Search over ten thousand teaching jobs nationwide — elementary, middle, high school and more.
View Jobs
Principal Jobs
Find hundreds of jobs for principals, assistant principals, and other school leadership roles.
View Jobs
Administrator Jobs
Over a thousand district-level jobs: superintendents, directors, more.
View Jobs
Support Staff Jobs
Search thousands of jobs, from paraprofessionals to counselors and more.
View Jobs

Read Next

School & District Management MAP: Where School Employees Can and Can't Strike
See which states do and don't allow public school employees to go on strike.
2 min read
Amy Chapman and her daughter, first grader Corinne Anderson, pose for a photo while they support teachers on strike outside Whetstone High School in Columbus, Ohio, on Wednesday, Aug. 24, 2022.
Amy Chapman and her daughter, 1st grader Corinne Anderson, show support for teachers on strike outside Whetstone High School in Columbus, Ohio, on Aug. 24, 2022.
Samantha Hendrickson/AP
School & District Management Opinion How to Build a More Effective School Board
Board members are well-intentioned, but they've been mis-trained into focusing on adult inputs rather than student needs.
5 min read
Image shows a multi-tailed arrow hitting the bullseye of a target.
DigitalVision Vectors/Getty
School & District Management What's Behind Texas' Takeover of Houston Schools
State takeovers of districts began in the 1980s but have waned recently following limited evidence of academic benefit.
5 min read
People stand in a row outside while holding signs that say "stop takeover," "hands off our schools," and "no HISD take over."
People hold up signs at a March news conference in Houston while protesting the planned takeover of the city's school district by the Texas Education Agency.
Juan A. Lozano/AP
School & District Management Superintendents' Salaries and Their Plans for Next Year, in Charts
A new survey offers a glimpse into the state of the superintendency, as some reports suggest turnover is on the rise.
1 min read
Close up of Benjamin Franklin's face on the one hundred dollar bill peeking out from behind a white curled up paper
iStock/Getty Images Plus