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Outgoing LAUSD Superintendent Austin Beutner Reflects On His Tenure, Navigating A Major School District Through A Pandemic And More

FILE - Los Angeles Unified School District Superintendent Austin Beutner speaks at a press conference on Weds., May 2, 2018.
FILE - Los Angeles Unified School District Superintendent Austin Beutner speaks at a press conference on Weds., May 2, 2018.
Kyle Stokes/KPCC

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Austin Beutner, who has led the Los Angeles Unified School District through a period of unprecedented tumult, will step down as superintendent after his current contract expires at the end of June.

In a letter sent last Wednesday afternoon, Beutner asked LAUSD board members to allow his contract to expire "as planned on June 30."

Beutner's decision will plunge the nation's second-largest school district into its sixth leadership transition in a decade. Beutner is LAUSD's third non-interim superintendent in the last 10 years. In his letter, though, Beutner suggested that board members won't have to look far for a replacement. "I believe," Beutner wrote, "the next superintendent of Los Angeles Unified can be found amongst the current team and she or he will be well placed to continue the progress at this critical time."

According to Beutner's letter, board members had asked him to consider extending his current contract. He wanted to take the opportunity to leave on what he deemed a high note. "In the meantime," he added, "I will remain focused on the task of ensuring that schools reopen in the safest way possible while helping in a seamless leadership transition."

LAUSD board members responded with a warm, joint, unsigned statement thanking Beutner for his three years of service and promising a “robust and equitable search process to find our next leader.” On Friday, the board announced that Megan K. Reilly, who’s been a top financial officer in the Los Angeles Unified School District for 12 of the last 14 years, has been selected to succeed Austin Beutner as superintendent — at least temporarily.

Today on AirTalk, Superintendent Beutner stops in to chat with Larry Mantle about his time as LAUSD superintendent, the lessons he learned along the way, the biggest challenges he faced during his time in office and what he hopes his legacy will be as a school administrator.

For more on this story from KPCCLAist’s Kyle Stokes, click here.


Austin Beutner, superintendent of the Los Angeles Unified School District; he tweets @AustinLASchools