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Oakland Board Considers Gary Yee For Acting Schools Chief

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(Bay City News) Oakland Unified School District board member Gary Yee is expected to take over as acting superintendent following the recent resignation of Superintendent Tony Smith, district officials announced Sunday.

Students stand in front of Oakland High School. Justin Sullivan/Getty
Students stand in front of Oakland High School.  Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

Yee, a board member since 2003, has been a student, parent, teacher and principal within the district at various times over the years, board President David Kakishiba said in a letter to district staff.

Yee will be formally announced as a candidate for the position today and the board will vote on the appointment next week.

If Yee is appointed as acting superintendent, the board will then have 60 days to decide how to fill his vacant District 4 seat.

Smith announced his resignation, effective June 30, in a letter to the board earlier this month.


Smith said he is moving his family to Chicago to be closer to his father-in-law, who is in poor health.

"The decision to leave at this time is very difficult," he wrote in the letter to Kakishiba. "However, my commitment to my family first means this is the right decision at this time."

The Oakland Tribune had this to say about Smith's legacy:

Smith spent much of his time in the public eye during his first three years in office trying to restore trust in an institution
notorious for the state financial takeover.

By 2012, Oakland Unified had nearly wiped out its structural deficit, avoided teacher furloughs and, that year, permanent teacher layoffs.

And the San Francisco Chronicle offered these observations:

During his tenure, he launched several reforms centered on raising the quality and expectations of all schools and especially those serving low-income and minority students. His efforts included creating full-service schools that offer academic support as well as health care, help for parents and access to community services. Test scores and other academic indicators such as graduation rates improved on his watch, although they continue to lag well behind state averages. ...

But he also drew criticism from the teachers union for his attempts to curb seniority rights and from the community when he pushed to close several schools.

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