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LA Unified names Ruth Perez as successor to Aquino

LA School Report | August 21, 2014



Ruth Perez LAUSD

Dr. Ruth Perez

Eight months after Jaime Aquino’s departure as LA Unified’s Deputy Superintendent of Instruction, the district has a candidate to fill the seat.

Superintendent John Deasy announced today he would recommend Ruth Pérez, former superintendent of the Norwalk-La Mirada school district, whose hiring is scheduled to come before the board for approval at its next meeting, on Aug. 26.

 “Dr. Pérez’s track record of success with students who are growing up in poverty, and youth who, like her, didn’t speak English when they started school, equips her to lead instruction for LAUSD,” Deasy said in a statement.  “Focused on high academic achievement for all students, she excels with diverse enrollments.”

A native of Puerto Rico, Perez began her career in Kissimmee, Fla., teaching English literature and English as a second language.

After moving into administration, she became an area superintendent in the Orange County public schools in Orlando.

Later, as the chief academic officer for the Charlotte-Mecklenburg public schools in North Carolina, she implemented initiatives such as intensive reading programs for students in Kindergarten through the third grade; extensive training for teachers instructing English learners and professional development strategies to teach children of poverty. She also expanded after-school programs to middle school students and reduced suspensions.

During her five years as superintendent at Norwalk-La Mirada, the overall graduation rate increased to 94 percent from 76.5 percent. Performance on state standardized tests also rose—as did the Academic Performance Index (API) score, which increased 54 points.

Aquino was one of Deasy’s top advisors, leading efforts to change the district’s instructional protocols to the Common Core State Standards, including the district’s plan to purchase iPads for every student and teacher.

“I’m personally very sad to lose such a gifted and talented employee,” Deasy said at the time. “It’s a real loss, and we’ll look forward to a very thoughtful transition.”

In explaining his decision to step down, Aquino wrote to his colleagues, “I feel the current political climate does not allow me to lead an agenda that is in the best interest of kids.’

Aquino remained his his position through the end of last year and as replaced on a temporary basis in March by former head of School, Parent and Family/Community Services, Maria Casillas

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