City school board elects new leader

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The Baltimore city school board elected new leadership this week, marking the final phase of turnover this year as the board prepares to lead the district through a critical transition and search for a permanent schools CEO.

Shanaysha Sauls, the parent of a city school student and career educator who has served as a member since 2010, will begin her post as chairwoman on July 1, replacing long-time head Neil Duke whose term ends on June 30.


Three other board members whose terms expired were also recently replaced. 

Sauls, a former high school English teacher and an assistant professor of political science, currently works with colleges and universities to "develop empirically-based, collaborative and mission-driven strategic plans which strengthen the student experiences at these institutions," according to a release from the school district.


"Mr. Duke set a standard for elegance and patience in leadership, while helping to lay the groundwork for the sense of optimism and opportunity we are experiencing today," Sauls said in a statement.

"I thank him and my board colleagues for their support and confidence and look forward to supporting a culture of collaboration in the months and years to come. Our students are counting on us; and we cannot let them down."

For the past three years, Sauls has been among the more outspoken members of the board, particularly in challenging process and questioning transparency (or lack thereof) in the system's budget presentations. In 2011, she voted against passing Alonso's proposed budget because the district's rushed time line didn't allow for enough debate, or public input.

Longtime board member and special-educator David Stone was re-elected vice-chair. He is currently the director of operations for special education at the Kennedy Krieger Institute, and also the parent of city school students.