When David Brewer III was on the outs – but had not yet been ousted – as superintendent of the Los Angeles Unified School District, he appointed Ramon Cortines as senior deputy superintendent. It was a bogus title, and everyone knew it.
Cortines had decades more experience than Brewer, a former Navy admiral who had never worked in a school district before. Cortines had been Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa’s deputy mayor of education and head of the Partnership for Los Angeles Schools. Before that he had run some of the nation’s largest districts, including New York and L.A. Unified. So, who was whose deputy?
The arrangement was a way for the district to have a competent leader while the Board of Education figured out a graceful exit for Brewer. Eight months later, in January 2009, the transition was formalized.