The Oakland school board selected Tony Smith, a top administrator in San Francisco public schools and an advocate of small schools and charter schools, to be the district's new permanent superintendent. According to the Trib, the board's vote was unanimous. Smith, an Oakland resident whose child will attend Crocker Highlands Elementary, a public school, beat out two other finalists. He also is a former superintendent of the tiny Emeryville public schools district and once worked for the Bay Area Coalition of Equitable Schools, a primary backer of the small schools movement. According to the Trib, Smith also said at Wednesday night's town hall meeting that he was "a pretty big backer of the charter movement."
Smith is Oakland's first permanent superintendent since Dennis Chaconas, and he will replace interim Superintendent Roberta Mayor. Let's hope that State Schools Chief Jack O'Connell will now do the right thing and finally relinquish his power over the district, and let Smith and the school board run the city's school system.