Ramon Cortines named new LAUSD superintendent

Ramon Cortines is the new superintendent of the L.A. Unified School District, replacing outgoing superintendent David Brewer. Shirley Jahad talked with KPCC's education reporter Adolfo Guzman-Lopez about the changeover.

Shirley Jahad: Good afternoon, I'm Shirley Jahad. It's 3:33. This is 89.3, KPCC. A big announcement in the last hour, but no big surprise from the LAUSD.

Board members this afternoon named Ramon Cortines as the new school district superintendent to take the place of outgoing superintendent David Brewer. KPCC's Adolfo Guzman-Lopez was there at the announcement and joins us now live. Adolfo?

Adolfo Guzman-Lopez: Well yeah, Shirley, what the board did in closed session is they voted seven to zero to appointed outgoing superintendent David Brewer's right hand man, his instruction deputy, to fill the post of David Brewer.

Last week, the Board of Education voted to buy out David Brewer's contract. Monica Garcia was unhappy with the direction, the leadership of Mr. David Brewer.

Today the board voted to give Ramon Cortines three years – one more year than was left of David Brewer's contract – give him three years to head the second largest school district in the country.

Jahad: Now there was a lot of dissent and contention, as Brewer was basically pushed out. Did the board members talk about that?

They did. Marguerite Poindexter LaMotte voiced, she voted to bring Ramon Cortines on, but after the announcement was made, she said that she still has concerns about how, about the process, about the accountability, about the board failing to give directions to David, specific directions to David Brewer, and that sort of thing. But, she's behind Ramon Cortines.

Mr. Cortines has vast experience in school board administration, having been the head of schools in San Francisco, Pasadena, New York, and for some time at L.A. Unified about eight years ago. And he's a close alley of Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa and has the backing of the current board of education here at L.A. Unified.

Jahad: Thank you very much. KPCC's Adolfo Guzman-Lopez reporting. Again, Ramon Cortines becoming the new LAUSD superintendent.