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So Cal education, LAUSD, the Cal States and the UCs

On third try, LA schools swipe DC arts educator for new position

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Well-known arts educator Rory Pullens will leave his post at Duke Ellington School of the Arts in Washington, D.C. to become executive director of L.A. Unified's arts education program, officials announced Tuesday.

Pullens was tapped twice before for that position, but the deals fell through. In closed session, the board Tuesday approved a two-year contract for him. He comes at a critical time as the district struggles to implement an ambitious plan to make arts part of the core curriculum.

Teachers and parents have been critical of a prior plan by the district to cut orchestra instruction in elementary school in half in order to serve more kids. After the uproar, the district abandoned that idea.

"Rory’s appointment furthers the commitment of the LAUSD to provide a world-class arts education to all of our students,” Superintendent John Deasy said in a written statement. “He brings an extraordinary background in the arts along with a string of astounding successes in his previous posts."

Pullens heads the well-regarded DC arts school and was arts administrator in Denver Colorado for more than a decade. Before that he spent two decades in the entertainment industry.

This marks the second high-profile arts educator steal for Los Angeles Unified.

Pullens will be paid $147,086 a year, plus a car allowance. He was paid a $10,000 moving bonus.

According to the district, Pullens will "identify and design" the district's arts strategy and curriculum.


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