DOWNTOWN L.A. — John Deasy, chief deputy to Los Angeles Unified School District Superintendent Ramon Cortines, was appointed Tuesday to take over for Cortines when he retires this spring.

Deasy has been with the district since August, serving as a top deputy to Cortines, 78.

The LAUSD Board of Education announced the selection after a closed-door meeting.

L.A. Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa praised the selection.

“John Deasy is the right person for this job and the Los Angeles Unified School District is lucky to have him,” the mayor said. “John understands the unique challenges facing the LAUSD and has already benefited from on-the-job training as deputy superintendent.”

Deasy previously served as deputy director of education for the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. He also served as superintendent of the Santa Monica- Malibu Unified School District and of Prince George’s County Schools in Maryland.

During his tenure at the 14,000-student district split between Santa Monica and Malibu, Deasy implemented programs to even out the disparity between high-achieving children from wealthy families, and kids from poor households who were struggling.

Deasy was credited with raising test scores at Santa Monica High and its feeder schools. But some Malibu parents bristled at a policy he championed to require that 15 percent of the money raised by wealthy Malibu parents be spread to some of the poorer schools in the district.

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