The Boston public school system has appointed an interim superintendent, less than a week after its previous top executive stepped down.
The Boston School Committee unanimously approved the appointment of Laura Perille, president and CEO of the education nonprofit EdVestors, as interim superintendent. She is taking a leave of absence from EdVestors to work for the district.
“There is no higher priority for us than the education of our students, and that is why it is so important to find the right person to continue moving our schools and our students forward during this transition,” said Boston Mayor Marty Walsh. “I am confident that we have found that person in Laura Perille."
Perille's predecessor, Superintendent Tommy Chang, announced his resignation from the Boston district last month after serving just three years.
The district says that Perille has served on a number of civic committees appointed by the mayor or school committee, including the External Advisory Committee on School Choice, charged with redesigning Boston’s student assignment system; the Education Transition Team for Mayor Walsh; and the Superintendent Search Committee in 2014-15.
The school system described EdVestors as a school improvement nonprofit whose mission is to increase the number of schools in Boston delivering dramatically improved educational outcomes. Since its launch in 2002 it has raised and helped investors direct more than $26 million in funds for urban school improvement.
WBUR Radio reports that some people at Monday night's board meeting protested the appointment, saying the selection process had been rushed and hadn't allowed for input. Community members felt they should have been given a chance to interview her or consider other candidates.
Others said Perille wasn't qualified for the job: She isn't an educator, and Boston is a complex, billion-dollar school district.
At Monday's meeting, Perille conceded that she's not an educator, but she said she's determined to use her post to support educators.
"I think I need to focus on [how] I can help the incredibly talented educators of the Boston Public Schools, staff and school leaders, personnel and teachers to empower them to do their best work," she says.
School Committee Chairman Michael Loconto promised to have a more open search for Perille's permanent replacement.
Perille has not ruled out seek the superintendent's job on a permanent basis. But, for now, she said she's focused on the interim role, as well as "clearing roadblocks" for the next superintendent.