Picking a leader for L.A. Unified

The last six L.A. Unified superintendents, with some highs and lows of their terms running the nation's second-largest school system.

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John Deasy, 2011-2014

Gary Friedman / Los Angeles Times

Highs: Better employee evaluations; fewer student suspensions; gains in student achievement

Lows: Troubled $1.3-billion, iPads-for-all project; malfunctioning student records system.

Ramon Cortines, 2009-2011

Al Seib / Los Angeles Times

Highs: Managed difficult budget cuts, factions competing for control

Lows: Abuse scandals emerged, including one at Miramonte Elementary, which later led to a $169-million payout.

David Brewer, 2006-2008

Gary Friedman / Los Angeles Times

Highs: Promoted more options for running schools

Lows: Lack of direction; stymied by internal, competing interests

Roy Romer, 2000-2006

Anne Cusack / Los Angeles Times

Highs: Nation's largest school construction program; stronger districtwide reading programs

Lows: Lagging achievement at secondary schools

Ramon Cortines, 2000

Ken Lubas / Los Angeles Times

Highs: Fought off district breakup; improved reading programs

Lows: Cancellation of costly Belmont Learning Complex project

Ruben Zacarias, 1997-1999

Los Angeles Times

Highs: Incremental rise in test scores

Lows: Disorganized school construction program