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Deputy sup. of SF public schools poised to leave for top education job in Berkeley district

Enikia Ford Morthel | LinkedIn

After being selected as a finalist for the top job in Berkeley’s public school system, a third top San Francisco Unified School District administrator is poised to leave the district.

Should a board vote go through this month, Deputy Superintendent of Instruction Enikia Ford Morthel will leave SFUSD to take the role of superintendent at Berkeley Unified School District, the East Bay district announced on Thursday. Superintendent Vincent Matthews and Deputy Superintendent of Policy and Operations Myong Leigh are also on their way out.

BUSD Board of Education Ka’Dijah Brown said in a statement that they expect to approve Ford Morthel’s appointment on May 18. An SFUSD spokesperson was not immediately available for comment.

There are three deputy superintendents stationed directly under Matthews. Leigh, a two-decade SFUSD veteran, announced in April that this year would be his last after leading a payroll transition with other department heads that resulted in more than 1,000 paycheck and benefit errors

The San Francisco Board of Education is finalizing its own superintendent search and is expected to make an announcement this month. 

Principals at Lowell, Mission, Thurgood and other high schools have also submitted their resignations in recent weeks. The departures come after warnings from the educators’ union that an exodus was imminent, due to lack of support and stability.

SFUSD reported this year’s turnover rates remained the same, comparatively speaking, to those experienced from January to mid-April last year. 

Ford Morthel has been in SFUSD since 2016, first as an assistant superintendent until taking her current position in 2019. She was previously a principal in Hayward Unified School District and held leadership positions at Education for Change Public Schools, which manages charter schools in the East Bay. 

Ford Morthel recently oversaw the transition to remote learning with two programs created at the beginning of the school year. However, her attempt to turn those programs into a virtual academy drew ire for its rushed timing and lack of details by commissioners who rejected the proposal. 

This is a breaking news story. Check back for updates.