Supt. Ramon Cortines Announces Six District Superintendents

LOS ANGELES (May 26, 2015) – Emphasizing local control, Superintendent Ramon C. Cortines announced today superintendents for six geographically-based districts for the Los Angeles Unified School District: Central, East, Northeast, Northwest, South and West. The smaller, regional districts will replace the Educational Service Centers. The changes will take effect on July 1.

The newly appointed superintendents, the top executives in the regional districts, will report to the L.A. Unified Superintendent’s Office. They will be based in field offices, allowing them to provide more personalized attention to schools, and closer access for parents and guardians. Their first priority will be to select instructional directors, operations administrators and additional support staff.

“As a former teacher and a principal, I know firsthand, decisions made locally tend to be more responsive to the needs of schools and families,” Cortines said. As a result of his new configuration, each district will contain fewer than 100,000 students, and fewer than 150 schools. By contrast, Educational Service Center North currently has more than 150,000 students and more than 200 schools.

The new district superintendents are:

• Central – Roberto Antonio Martinez currently leads the Educational Service Center East. He has worked for the District for 30 years in many administrative positions, including Local District 5 Superintendent. He has also served as principal of Los Angeles Senior High School and Woodrow Wilson Senior High School. He began his career with L.A. Unified as a teacher at Main Street Elementary School.

• East – Dr. Frances Marie Gipson is currently the principal of El Sereno Middle School and Magnet Center. She has worked for the District for more than 20 years in numerous administrative positions, including administrator of instruction for Local District 5. In addition, she has also held several university positions, including director of Professional Development and Partnerships at UCLA. She began her career with L.A. Unified as a teacher at 107th Street Elementary School.

• Northeast – Byron J. Maltez currently leads the Educational Service Center North. He has worked for the District for more than 30 years in many administrative positions, including interim superintendent of Local District 4. He has also served as principal of Thomas Starr King Middle School and Gifted Magnet. He began his career with L.A. Unified as a science and leadership teacher at Charles Drew Middle School.

• Northwest – Vivian K. Ekchian is currently the chief labor negotiator. She has worked for the District for 30 years in many administrative positions, including chief human resources officer and the administrator of instruction for Local District 1. She has also served as principal at Rio Vista Elementary School. She began her career with L. A. Unified as a teacher at Union Avenue Elementary School.

• South – Christopher Downing is currently the instructional director for the Educational Service Center South. He has worked for the District for more than 25 years in many administrative positions including heading the Parent Community Services Branch. He has also served as principal of Ambler Elementary and Gifted Magnet School. He began his career with L.A. Unified as a teacher at Manchester Avenue Elementary School.

• West – Cheryl P. Hildreth currently leads the Educational Service Center West. She has worked for the District for more than 25 years in many administrative positions, including as a director in Local District 1. She has served as principal of Bancroft Middle School. She began her career with L. A. Unified as a teacher at Palms Elementary School.

From these leaders, Cortines expects “a laser-like focus on struggling schools and innovative schools,” and “the sharing of best practices between excelling and struggling schools.”
He added, “Students are the center of the Los Angeles Unified School District.”

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Contact: Tom Waldman (213) 241-6766