Oakland Unified begins search for Superintendent

OAKLAND, Calif. (KGO) -- The Oakland Unified School District is looking for a new leader. The district announced Superintendent Antwan Wilson has resigned to head up schools in Washington D.C.

Wilson will now head one of the most challenging school districts in the country, one that continues to battle with its high dropout rate.

"(It has been a) tremendous opportunity to make a difference for the young people here and have a tremendous impact on young people," said Wilson.

Past Washington D.C. chancellors include Arlene Ackerman, who served only two years before coming to San Francisco Unified and Michelle Rhee, who was being looked at as a possible candidate for Secretary of Education.

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"The good news is that progress is not going away," said Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf.

The mayor and Oakland's school board say Wilson brought his own ideas to improve schools while supporting the positive work left by other superintendents.

"We are in a very good place perhaps the best place we've been in two decades as a district," explained James Harris, the Oakland School Board President.

As superintendent, Wilson worked two-and-a-half years of his three year contract. The teacher's union says there is no legacy here.

"There have been a lot of initiatives, to the end we really haven't seen. We're going to have to grade him an incomplete," said Trish Gorham, the Oakland Education Association President.

But according to a 2014 survey done by the Council of Great City Schools, the average urban school superintendent tenure is 3.2 years.

Wilson's departure leaves both the Oakland and San Francisco searches for a superintendent, pulling form a small pool of candidates nationwide. These two major urban districts are offering $300,000-plus salaries.

"We've got a lot to offer whoever is coming to take over our district and as does Oakland, so I know we're going to find two great superintendents," said Matt Haney, President of the San Francisco Board of Education.

Both hope to have their leaders in place by the beginning of next school year.
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