Education

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Superintendent Ramon Cortines attends his first LAUSD school board meeting after his predecessor, John Deasy, stepped down in October 2014.
Superintendent Ramon Cortines attends his first LAUSD school board meeting after his predecessor, John Deasy, stepped down in October 2014.
Benjamin Brayfield/KPCC

Los Angeles Unified Superintendent Ramon Cortines reaffirmed Tuesday he will step down at the end of the year, opening up the top job at the nation's second largest school district. 

Cortines and his predecessors strived to turn around a school system struggling to educate hundreds of thousands of students, many of whom speak English as a second language 0r live in poverty. The district's success has been incremental.

Cortines, 82, came out of retirement last October to serve temporarily after the resignation of  former Superintendent John Deasy. Deasy left the district under pressure following the troubled iPad program, growing tension with the school board and teachers, and other issues.

Even before Cortines retires, the search for his successor is expected to get underway. It's anticipated to take several months as officials sift through executive resumes from urban districts around the country.

In a statement Wednesday, board member Monica Ratliff praised Cortines for addressing major problems with the MiSiS student data system, among other accomplishments. She added: “I admire his announcement [to step down], because it makes it very clear that the board cannot continue to put off its duty of finding his successor.”