Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) Superintendent John Deasy could be leaving in coming months. According to some district officials, Deasy has told them that he plans to leave his post soon, but he has not submitted a letter of resignation.
Deasy, 52, who declined to discuss his plans, said that he would have more to say after his job evaluation. He has led the nation’s second-largest school system since 2011, writes Howard Blume of Los Angeles Times.
Previously, Deasy led three other school districts, including Santa Monica-Malibu Unified for about five years before moving for two years to Maryland’s Prince George’s County Public Schools. He then spent two years as a deputy director at the Seattle-based Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.
“We are shocked,” said Mike Trujillo, a spokesman of the office of Board of Education President Richard Vladovic. “Dr. Vladovic is shocked, saddened and surprised.” The office said Vladovic was referring to rumors that the superintendent would leave.
Deasy revamped teachers’ evaluations to include the use of students standardized test scores. He also made changes to the seniority system to limit the effect of job cuts at schools with large numbers of less-experienced instructors, who are generally the first to be laid off. Led by Deasy, LAUSD recently launched a $1-billion project to distribute iPads to every student and teacher. The district will use school construction bonds to fund the project.
Deasy was closely allied with former L.A. Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, who left office this year because of term limits. Deasy’s political position weakened further in recent school board elections, when two candidates backed by Deasy allies lost. The newly constituted board has made no moves against Deasy, but quickly began to challenge more of his policies.
In July, Deasy threatened to resign when the school board was poised to elect Vladovic as board president. The board elevated Vladovic anyway and Deasy stayed.
Vladovic and Deasy have been at odds in the past, but “Dr. Vladovic felt that he and John Deasy had achieved a positive working relationship on behalf of kids,” Trujillo said.
Deasy’s job performance will be discussed by the school board in a private meeting. The board also is scheduled to discuss Deasy’s revised plans for the distribution of the tablets in a special public meeting.
United Teachers Los Angeles (UTLA) has raised concerns about Deasy’s policies since he took the post. Union members opposed the superintendent’s push for student test scores to count in teachers’ job reviews, and the union’s president Warren Fletcher said in a statement that teachers have had concerns with Deasy’s leadership.
“Deasy has ignored the concerns of the District’s teachers and health and human services professionals for a very long time,” Fletcher said in the statement. “UTLA is hopeful that the school board and the entire LAUSD community will take this opportunity to refocus the district back to its most basic mission: providing every student with a well-rounded education.”