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Michelle Rhee Named Chair of Sacramento Charter School Organization

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Crossposted from Lesli A. Maxwell at District Dossier.

Michelle Rhee, the controversial former chancellor of the District of Columbia public schools, has a new gig as the chairwoman of the Sacramento charter school organization founded by her husband, Kevin Johnson, who is the mayor of California's capital city.

The Sacramento Bee reported that Rhee—who founded and runs StudentsFirst, a national advocacy organization that seeks to shape state and local education policy and politics—will return to the board of St. Hope, a charter school management organization with four schools that serve about 1,800 students in and around Sacramento's Oak Park neighborhood. Rhee served on St. Hope's board in 2006 and 2007, before she and Johnson were married and while she was still new to running the school system in Washington.

Johnson, mayor of Sacramento and a former NBA star, started St. Hope in the late 1980s as an after-school program for children in Oak Park, the low-income community where he grew up. 

In addition to Rhee, the St. Hope organization also tapped one of her StudentsFirst colleagues, Enoch Woodhouse, to serve as the charter group's interim superintendent. The board will conduct a national search for a new, permanent leader, The Bee reported.

Rhee has been one of the most polarizing figures in the national debate over how best to improve public schools. Since she announced the formation of StudentsFirst three years ago, the organization expanded steadily into more than a dozen states, but has recently scaled back its work in five of them, as my colleague Andrew Ujifusa has reported.

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