Mayor names school reform team

Times Staff Writer

Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa on Saturday named five people -- among them an executive of the Riordan Foundation, a teacher with 51 years of experience, a former local superintendent for the Los Angeles school district and a retired Long Beach assistant superintendent -- to spearhead his administration’s school reform initiatives.

“These are five world-class leaders in the field of education, each of whom has served as a bold change agent at every stage of their careers,” Villaraigosa said in a statement announcing their appointment.

For the record:

12:00 AM, Dec. 13, 2006 For The Record
Los Angeles Times Wednesday December 13, 2006 Home Edition Main News Part A Page 2 National Desk 1 inches; 35 words Type of Material: Correction
Villaraigosa appointees: An article in Sunday’s California section about five people appointed by Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa to spearhead his school reform initiatives incorrectly referred to Nike Irvin as “he”; Irvin is a woman.

He called the group the Mayor’s Partnership for School Excellence education leadership team. Members are expected to work closely with Deputy Mayor Ramon C. Cortines when a state law that gives the mayor substantial authority over the Los Angeles Unified School District takes effect Jan. 1.

The appointees are:


* Nike Irvin, president of the Riordan Foundation, which focuses on computer-based early childhood literacy programs. He will manage implementation of the team’s initiatives.

* Greta Pruitt, a 51-year education veteran who is an instructor at the USC Rossier School of Education. She will oversee the development of primary curriculum.

* Sylvia Rousseau, a former local superintendent and assistant superintendent for L.A. Unified, as well as a former principal of Santa Monica High School. Her responsibility will be overseeing the development of secondary curriculum.

* Lynn Winters, a retired assistant superintendent of research, planning and evaluation for the Long Beach Unified School District. She will be a consultant responsible for developing and tracking program goals and targets.


* Marshall Tuck, president and chief operating officer of Green Dot Public Schools, who has been an executive in the corporate world and an investment banker. He will direct the partnership’s reform efforts.

Caprice Young, president of the California Charter School Assn., applauded Villaraigosa’s choices.

“It’s a great leadership team. He can’t go wrong with those folks,” she said. “He made phenomenally great choices -- people who have proven track records educating kids, closing the achievement gaps and working for the social justice.”

But Kevin Reed, general counsel for the school district, said he was disappointed with the mayor’s action and called it premature, given the fact that the school district is challenging the constitutionality of the legislation in court.


“If the mayor were truly looking to partner with the school district, he would have consulted with Supt. [David L.] Brewer with respect to who he was thinking of putting in his demonstration project team. We are disappointed that he and his team did not consult us.”

Villaraigosa said the team members collectively have nearly 100 years of experience in education and that their “hands-on knowledge” spans curriculum development, school management, assessment and evaluation.

Their salaries will not come from the city. Instead, they will be paid from charitable foundation funds. Already, $1 million has been raised from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and the Hewlett Foundation, said Villaraigosa’s press secretary, Janelle Erickson.

She said details of their contracts are still being worked out.