LAUSD Superintendent Austin Beutner Will Step Down June 30
In an unexpected announcement Thursday, the superintendent of the nation’s second largest school district said he would be stepping down when his contract expires on June 30. Los Angeles Unified Superintendent Austin Beutner joins a growing list of superintendents who have decided to call it quits during one of the most challenging years for public education in recent memory.
“As the son of a public-school teacher and the product of a great public education, it has been an honor to serve as Superintendent of Los Angeles Unified for the past three years,” Beutner said in a statement.
“It is the most rewarding job I’ve held during my nearly 40-year career. That sentiment guided my thinking as I weighed your request to consider an extension of my contract. I reflected on the shared lessons and significant progress of the past three years. We have built a foundation to enable Los Angeles Unified’s dedicated teachers, hard-working staff and engaged Board to continue on the path to recovery for children and provide them with the education and opportunity they deserve.”
“And so I believe that it is fitting that a new superintendent should have the privilege of welcoming students back to school in the fall. I respectfully request that my contract end as planned on June 30.”
Beutner said he would spend the next two months “focused on the task of ensuring that schools reopen in the safest way possible while helping in a seamless leadership transition."
Beutner went further in depth in an interview with EdSource, acknowledging that the pandemic had floated a role his decision to leave after three years.
“It has been 15-hour days, seven days a week for more than a year, quite frankly almost three years. But without question it plays a role,” he said.
Beutner’s tenure was rocky from start to finish. Less than a year into the job, in 2019, UTLA launched a teachers strike — the first in 30 years. Then came the coronavirus pandemic. Beutner was initially unpopular with the teachers union, but the pandemic brought the two sides closer together. It was parents and reopening advocates who had criticized his leadership in recent months.
Aside from the pandemic, one of Beutner’s lasting legacies will be the reorganization and decentralization of the district’s offices.
Beutner is one of many to step through LAUSD’s revolving door. The district has seen three superintendents — not counting interim leaders — in the past decade.
On Friday, the Los Angeles Board of Education appointed Deputy Superintendent Megan Reilly to the interim position. The Board will launch a formal, nationwide search for a permanent replacement. Beutner had said he thinks the Board should look inward and appoint someone from his team.
Reilly has served in her current role since 2019. She was previously the chief financial officer at LAUSD and then the chief business officer for the Santa Clara County Office of Education. Over the past year, she has overseen LAUSD’s Grab & Go meal program, the provision of student laptops and internet hot spots, and campus reopening plans.