Baltimore City schools CEO announces key cabinet departure

City schools academic chief resigns

Baltimore City schools CEO Sonja Santelises announced the resignation of the district's chief academic officer, and will announce later this month who she has chosen to fill the key leadership position she once held.

In a letter to city schools staff Tuesday, Santelises said Linda Chen, brought in to lead the academic office under former schools CEO Gregory Thornton, had resigned on Aug. 1 to "pursue other opportunities."

Chen is the second high-ranking Thornton appointee to leave the district in the two months since the embattled schools chief resigned.

"For the past two years, Ms. Chen served city schools with dedication and commitment to academic excellence for all students," Santelises' letter said. "We wish her well in her future endeavors."

The new academics chief, who Santelises said would be introduced before the school year starts on Aug. 29, will be her third cabinet replacement so far.

Santelises has appointed a new chief of staff, Alison Perkins-Cohen, and a new chief human capital officer, DeRay Mckesson.

And last week Santelises appointed a new executive director of communications, Anne Fullerton to replace former FOX45 Anchor Karen Parks who had worked for less than a year under Thornton.

Santelises, who officially started on July 1, wrote that her priority in first few weeks of her tenure has been "to ensure that the district office is in the best possible position to support you, our students and families as we head into the new school year -- and beyond."

She also said that the district is focusing on filling teacher vacancies as the school year draws near. A job fair will be held Thursday at the Excel Academy.

District officials said that as of Wednesdayl, the district had a little more than 200 vacancies -- a comparable number to past years -- and an advertisement for the job fair lists positions for nearly every academic subject as well as custodians.

erica.green@baltsun.com

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