While LA Unified board members are contemplating the continued employment of Superintendent John Deasy, one of his chief deputies has volunteered to serve as a short-term successor.
Michelle King, Senior Deputy Superintendent School Operations and one of the highest-ranking African-Americans in Deasy’s administration, today forwarded a letter to all seven board members, saying she would be willing to take the reins, should the board move to fire Deasy, according to three sources with knowledge of the letter.
The letter arrived on the same day board members met in closed session to discuss the parameters of Deasy’s performance review, which is scheduled for Oct. 21. Despite that scheduling, the board has the right to dismiss Deasy at any time.
A senior district official, who had not seen King’s letter, was taken aback by its unexpected delivery.
“It would be a logical choice considering, her experience and position; I’m just surprised this did not take place until after the board made its decision on Deasy’s future,” the official said. Sources said King’s overture had been unknown to Deasy.
A message sent to King, seeking comment, was not immediately returned.
King started off as an LA Unified teacher and is considered to be a district “lifer” by her colleagues. She has also served as Deputy Chief Instructional Officer, Assistant Superintendent of Health and Human Services, a high school principal and assistant principal.
As word of the letter circulated among officials inside and outside the district, several speculated that King may have been asked to throw her name into the ring at the suggestion of one or more board members as a means of ensuring a smooth transition while the board conducts a search for a new leader.