Saturday, October 10, 2015



From the AALA Update | AALA thanks Dr. William J. Johnston, LAUSD Superintendent 1971-1981, for sharing his thoughts on the superintendent selection process. |

Oct. 8, 2015 :: Thank you Superintendent Cortines! As you contemplate retirement again, the Los Angeles Unified School District should extend its gratitude, its applause, and its appreciation for your sensitive and constructive leadership. Following former Superintendent John Deasy’s departure, you have brought much needed relief, comfort, and stability to the school district. You have successfully resolved many difficult and complex issues with ease, with clarity, and common sense. Your tenure has made a difference, bettering the climate and soul of our beloved school district! Thank you!

Obviously, many are concerned, anxious, and thoughtful about your successor. How will the Board of Education proceed? Will they concentrate on candidates from within the State of California who have knowledge of the District? As an observer of this operation, over many years, I have watched outsiders, from distant school districts, the military, and business backgrounds, come into Los Angeles Unified. Many of these candidates failed to comprehend and understand how to best provide for LAUSD students, staff, and parents. They simply do not know the people in leadership, in critical organizations such as AALA, UTLA, PTA, etc., the 10 cities and mayors we serve, local media, our schools, our staffs, and our students. It can literally take years to properly fill this experience and time gap!

My recommendation: Find the person, male or female, who has successful experience in California and hopefully who has the experience of knowing the students, the schools, the staff, the streets, the issues, the financial requirements, the Board Members, the community leaders, as well as the complexities and opportunities of this great school district. This person will create a team of colleagues from within the school district who are ready to provide leadership, enthusiasm, and help develop successful relationships with District staff, students, parents, and community members.

This future superintendent may already be a principal, an administrative coordinator, or an assistant or associate superintendent within the state. This future superintendent must be an advocate, a believer in the tradition of public education, not a promoter of charter schools. This future superintendent must believe in the necessity of an adult education program as a complementary component to children’s education, and to the building and bonding of all citizens from all nations in our community. He/she should consider reestablishing the once successful “Adopt-A-School” program initiated by ARCO and advanced by Bank of America and other supportive businesses and individuals.

This superintendent’s appointment is critical and will have a major impact on staff morale, staff confidence, and student achievement!


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