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Friday, December 11, 2015

Superintendent candidates emerge as L.A. Unified seeks to keep job hunt a secret - LA Times

Superintendent candidates emerge as L.A. Unified seeks to keep job hunt a secret - LA Times:

Superintendent candidates emerge as L.A. Unified seeks to keep job hunt a secret

Ramon C. Cortines
Los Angeles Unified School District Supt. Ramon C. Cortines has said he wants to retire by the end of the year.
Los Angeles Board of Education is immersed in the biggest job it has: choosing the next leader of the nation's second-largest school system.
Starting on Sunday, the seven-member board began interviewing candidates and weighing options. Insider or outsider? Former insider? Business executive? Educator from a much smaller city?
Although top district officials have gone to great lengths to keep the process confidential, the names of top contenders are emerging through sources close to the Los Angeles Unified School District, people who know some of those under consideration and individuals in other cities.
Among those who are considered to be in the running and who have been or are expected to be interviewed: San Francisco Supt. Richard Carranza, L.A. Unified Deputy Supt. Michelle King and Fremont Unified Supt. Jim Morris, who formerly worked for L.A. Unified.
Others who have been part of the board's discussions and may be interviewed include: Miami schools Supt. Alberto Carvalho, St. Louis Supt. Kelvin Adams, Atlanta Supt. Meria Carstarphen, business executive Jim Berk, nonprofit director Dixon Slingerland and former senior L.A. Unified administrator Robert Collins.
This list is not complete, some insiders said, and L.A. Unified's interest is not necessarily reciprocated.
Efforts by The Times to speak with each of these individuals have been unsuccessful over the last two weeks. Carranza has not responded to interview requests. King and Morris declined.
The board hopes to make a selection by the end of the month. Current Supt.Ramon C. Cortines, 83, is retiring. The veteran educator has led L.A. Unified on three separate occasions, most recently after Supt. John Deasy resigned under pressure last year.
The next leader faces daunting challenges: a looming budget shortfall, declining enrollment and lagging student achievement. There's also the challenge of an outside plan to rapidly expand the number of independently operated charter schools, which could threaten the solvency of L.A. Unified if enough students enroll in them. The schools chief also must bring together a Board of Education with different beliefs and conflicting political backers.
Altogether, the situation is enough to persuade one well-regarded former superintendent to steer clear.
"There is no way I would go to Los Angeles. It's a total mess," said Joshua Starr, who recently headed the district in Montgomery County, Md., with 156,000 students, for nearly four years and who attracted some attention for the job in Los Angeles. "I would want to be in a job that you had a chance to be successful."
Nonetheless, a large field has emerged, compiled by an executive search firm hired by the board. And although a dark horse may surface, the front-runners appear to be Carranza and King, with Morris close behind.
Carranza, 49, has led San Francisco Unified since 2012, where his focus has included expanding technology and reducing suspensions, two issues of importance in Los Angeles. He previously worked as that district's deputy superintendent for instruction, innovation and social justice. He also served as a senior administrator in Las Vegas' schools.
San Francisco is less than one-tenth the size of L.A. Unified; about 60% of students are from low-income families — a substantial percentage, but lower than in Los Angeles. Carranza recently signed a three-year extension, starting at $315,000 a year.
The leading inside candidate, and probably the only one, is King, 54, the top deputy to Superintendent candidates emerge as L.A. Unified seeks to keep job hunt a secret - LA Times: