John White, who has worked in school districts in Chicago, New Orleans, and New York City, was selected last week by Louisiana’s board of education as the state’s superintendent of education.
The new schools chief was Republican Gov. Bobby Jindal’s pick for the job, and his supporters include U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan.
Mr. White moves into the post after having led the Recovery School District, a state-run system created in 2003 to turn around low-performing schools, many of them in New Orleans.
He worked on New York City schools Chancellor Joel I. Klein’s senior leadership team as deputy chancellor of talent, labor, and innovation. During his time with the district, he worked closely with teachers’ unions, focused on developing technology to personalize student learning and on turning around low-performing schools, according to his biographical materials.
“Improving our educational system will require bold leadership and innovative ideas,” Gov. Jindal said in a statement, “such as empowering parents with more choices, rewarding highly effective teachers, and giving our schools the flexibility to pursue the most effective reforms for students in their communities. John is just the type of passionate, competent, and committed educator we need as superintendent to build on our record of reform.”
The Louisiana Association of Educators had voiced objections to the appointment, saying state officials were overly focused on Mr. White and should have conducted a broader search for qualified candidates.
A version of this article appeared in the January 18, 2012 edition of Education Week as Recovery District Chief to Lead La. Schools