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Dept. of Ed.'s Melendez to Los Angeles?

Rumor has it that Thelma Melendez de Santa Ana, the assistant secretary for elementary and secondary education, could be leaving the department to serve as superintendent of the Los Angeles Unified School District.

Apparently, she's on a short list for the job.

Before coming to the department, Melendez headed up California's 30,000-student Pomona Unified School District, a primarily Latino district, where about 70 percent of its students receive free- or reduced-price lunches.

At the department, Melendez has been charged with helping ensure that the reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, does a better job than the current law of gauging the progress of English-language learners. That's no easy task, but Melendez herself was an once an ELL, giving her a unique perspective on that special population.

Over the summer, the current superintendent, Ramon Cortines, announced that he would retire this spring. Melendez considers Cortines a mentor. And Cortines once called Melendez "tough as a steel."

So will Melendez head west? And who will take her place? Let the speculation begin!

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