School & District Management

Stockton, Calif., Board Votes to Fire Anthony Amato

By Dakarai I. Aarons — September 24, 2009 1 min read

Anthony Amato has been fired from his job as superintendent of the 38,000-student Stockton, Calif., school district after a rocky 14-month tenure.

Amato, who had previously resigned under pressure from jobs leading the Kansas City, Mo., and New Orleans school districts, is well-known for having a bold, take-charge style.

He was hired by the California district in July 2008.

Before arriving in Stockton, he spent 18 months in Kansas City, two years in New Orleans, three and a half years in Hartford, Conn., and 12 years as superintendent of the Washington Heights district in New York City.

His style earned him the antagonism of the Stockton teachers’ union and often-divided board members, according to The Stockton Record, which says Amato and the board seemed to be working in harmony just a week ago, making Tuesday night’s decision more surprising.

Amato told my colleague Catherine Gewertz this morning that he has no immediate plans for another job at the moment, and intends to stay in Stockton, since his family likes it there. He said he had no plans to challenge the vote, and that he and board members had agreed to a “mutual separation” if the board’s vote went against him.

Catherine recently traveled to Stockton to write about the work Amato was doing to create a “college-ready culture” and increase graduation in the city. Under his leadership, record numbers of students took the SAT college-entrance exam.

The Stockton board will meet next week to determine the terms of ending Amatio’s $260,000-a-year contract with the district.

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