John Deasy resigned Thursday morning as superintendent of the Los Angeles Unified School District.
In a statement, the Board of Education said academic achievement rose substantially despite economic hardships under Deasy's three-and-a-half-year tenure, and it dismissed allegations of ethical violations made against him in connection with the district's $1.3 billion iPad program.
Deasy will remain with the district on a "special assignment" until the end of the year and former superintendent Ramon Cortines will fill the role again in an interim capacity while the board searches for a permanent replacement.
Cortines will begin Monday.
The LAUSD board authorized its lawyers several weeks ago to begin negotiating a separation agreement with lawyers for Deasy, who oversaw the nation's second largest district at a time of increasing scrutiny from the teachers' union and some board members.
During Deasy's tenure, test scores and graduation rates increased, even as budget cuts stripped away resources.
But he has butted heads with board members and activists over the district's ambitious effort to provide all of its students and staff with iPads or laptops. He also under fire after issues with MiSiS, an automated scheduling and attendance record keeping system, led to delayed registration and systemwide confusion at the start of the school year.
And there have also been calls for Deasy to resigns in the wake of the sexual molestation scandal at Miramonte Elementary.
An uneasy relationship with the teachers' union, UTLA, over his plan to tie teacher evaluations to student performance, also stymied some plans from moving forward.
"I think his departure offers an opportunity to transition toward a more collaborative management style," said Alex Caputo-Pearl, the president of UTLA. "And to actually address some of the demands within our campaign."
Deasy, who has been in South Korea this week, could not be reached Wednesday night for comment. According to his voice mail recording, Deasy will be back from his overseas trip Saturday.
"It’s unclear to me from watching the board very carefully that they would have had the votes to actually fire John Deasy, yet he has decided to resign, so we don’t exactly know why," LA School News founder Jamie Alter Lynton said.
Deasy became superintendent of the nation’s second-largest school district in April 2011. Lynton noted that Deasy entered the district with a reform agenda, but had become increasingly frustrated trying to carry it out.
UTLA responded to news of Deasy's resignation by underlining its issues with his leadership style.
"The process of hiring a permanent superintendent for the nation’s second-largest district may be a lengthy one—in the end it is important for the right person to be at the helm of LAUSD. The District should be led by someone who understands the diverse needs of the District, its 640,000 students and its 60,000 employees—including 35,000 educators—and who is responsive to the elected Board of Education," the group said in a written statement.
Deasy had previously served as superintendent of the Santa Monica‐Malibu Unified School District in California and of the Coventry Public Schools in Rhode Island.