Deasy’s Appointment to Head LAUSD Made Official

By City News Service

Los Angeles Unified School District officials’ appointment Tuesday of John Deasy to replace retiring Superintendent Ramon Cortines came as little surprise to district watchers who had long speculated that Cortines hired Deasy in August to get him ready to transition into the superintendent job.

Cortines will retire this spring.

Deasy has been serving as a top deputy to Cortines, 78.

The LAUSD Board of Education announced the selection after closed-door meeting.

“Let me thank the Board of Education and this community for allowing me to humbly serve the children of Los Angeles,” Deasy said. “I and our entire team are going to work together to improve student achievement for every single student in this district.

LAUSD school board officials congratulated John Deasy after announcing his appointment to replace retiring Superintendent Ramon Cortines.

“Second, I promise to honor and support our amazing employees. They are working for our students in amazingly difficult times, and need our constant support,” he said.

“And third, I simply cannot do this job alone. I will need our community to help support our work as we honor the rights of every single student.”

LAUSD Board President Richard Vladovic said he was excited about the choice of Deasy.

“Having had the opportunity to observe Dr. Deasy at work these past few months left me with no doubt in his ability to lead this district despite the uncertainty of the state’s fiscal situation and the challenges that lay before us,” Vladovic said.

The school district’s 45,000 member teachers’ union, however, criticized district officials for appointing Deasy without first conducting a nationwide search.

“At a time when public education faces unprecedented challenges, the current closed door decision making process for selecting the education leader of the second largest district in the country does a disservice to the students, parents and employees of LAUSD,” wrote Joshua Pechthalt, UTLA/AFT Vice President in a letter to the school board on behalf of UTLA.

Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa praised the selection.

“John Deasy is the right person for this job and the Los Angeles Unified School District is lucky to have him,” the mayor said. “John understands the unique challenges facing the LAUSD and has already benefited from on-the-job training as deputy superintendent.”

Deasy previously served as deputy director of education for the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. He also served as superintendent of the Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District and of Prince George’s County Schools in Maryland.

During his tenure at the 14,000-student district split between Santa Monica and Malibu, Deasy implemented programs to even out the disparity between high-achieving children from wealthy families, and kids from poor households who were struggling.

Deasy was credited with raising test scores at Santa Monica High and its feeder schools. But some Malibu parents bristled at a policy he championed to require that 15 percent of the money raised by wealthy Malibu parents be spread to some of the poorer schools in the district.

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January 13, 2011  Copyright © 2012 Eastern Group Publications, Inc.

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