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Former Baltimore city schools CEO Andres Alonso a candidate for L.A. superintendent job

Former Baltimore city schools CEO Andres Alonso a candidate for L.A. superintendent job
Dr. Andres A. Alonso resigned as Baltimore schools' CEO in May 2013. (Algerina Perna / Baltimore Sun)

Former Baltimore City schools CEO Andres Alonso is in the running to become the next superintendent of Los Angeles schools — the nation's second-largest school system.

Los Angeles' Board of Education has been deliberating over the choice of three main main candidates — Alonso, former investment banker and philanthropist Austin Beutner and the district's interim superintendent, Vivian Ekchian — and met Friday in closed session.

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But after more than five hours in closed session, the Los Angeles Board of Education recessed its meeting without announcing a new superintendent for the nation's second-largest school system.

The board is scheduled to resume deliberations May 1.

Alonso, who currently teaches at the Harvard Graduate School of Education, resigned as Baltimore schools' head in May 2013.

His six-year tenure here saw growth in test scores, graduation rates and enrollment, but his administration was dogged by fiscal problems, cheating scandals and occasionally rocky relations with the teachers union.

On Friday, one leader of a Los Angeles community group came out in favor of Alonso to lead that city's school system.

"L.A. Unified has the opportunity to bring in an instructional leader of color with a history of success," said Alberto Retana, president and chief executive of Community Coalition, which works on behalf of low-income students and families in South Los Angeles. "If we have a shot at that, we should go for it — because it's in the best interests of our kids and of our community."

Many inside the district appear to back Ekchian, who has spent her career within the school system. She's managed the district since September, when then-Superintendent Michelle King went on medical leave and chose Ekchian to fill in for her. King, who is battling cancer, never returned and announced her retirement in January.

Numerous civic leaders have urged The L.A. board to select Beutner, as have advocates for charter schools. Four of the seven L.A. school board members — enough to control the outcome — were elected with major financial support from charter supporters.

The Baltimore Sun contributed to this article.

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