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Boston Mayor Picks Nonprofit Leader as Temporary Schools Chief

Boston Mayor Marty Walsh wasted no time in choosing an interim school chief after the abrupt—but mutually agreed upon—departure of Superintendent Tommy Chang.

His pick, according to the Boston Globe, is Laura Perille, who serves as the president and chief executive officer of EdVestors, a Boston-based nonprofit that describes itself as a school improvement organization. The group has partnered with the school system to expand arts programs in schools, according to its website.

Perille's background is in the nonprofit sector. She's has been with EdVestors since its start in 2002, and has worked as the director of education for Crittenton Hastings House; as a policy analyst for Community Catalyst/Families USA, a health advocacy group; and the director of programs for The Greater Boston Food Bank, according to her biography on the group's website.

Perille has also served on various local committees dealing with education issues, including serving on an advisory committee on school choice; a superintendent's search committee (the one that led to Chang's appointment); and on Walsh's education transition team after he was first elected mayor in 2013.

Walsh and Michael Loconto, the school board president, described Perille as longtime school improvement advocate who also has experience with the system as a parent and partner. 

"She has the drive, skills and expertise to achieve the positive results we need for our students," they said in a statement to the Boston Globe.

Chang, who came to Boston from Los Angeles in 2015, resigned abruptly late Friday. His resignation came one day after civil rights and student advocacy groups filed a lawsuit against Chang, the city, and the district, demanding to know how the district shares student information with law enforcement agencies.

The groups allege that a student incident report generated after an altercation at East Boston High School showed up in a student's deportation proceedings.

Chang, an immigrant from Taiwan, has denied any allegations that the district shared information with federal law immigration officials that led to the student's arrest and stressed the district's commitment to protecting immigrant students.

Walsh told the Boston Globe last week that the parting of ways had to do had to do, in part, with Chang's management.

"We need a long-term education leader with a proven record in management who can gain the confidence of the community on the strategic vision for the district," Walsh told the Boston Globe in a statement last Friday.

The Globe reports that the school board is expected to formally offer the job to Perille on Monday. If the appointment goes through, this will be the first time in recent memory that the school system has picked an outsider to hold down the fort until a permanent leader is selected, the paper said.

Related stories:

Boston Superintendent's Resignation: What's Behind Tommy Chang's Departure?

How Long Do Big-City Superintendents Actually Last?

 Boston Selects New Superintendent of Schools

Same Names, Different District: Why Superintendent Searches Can Be a Game of Musical Chairs

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