Click photo to enlarge
Oakland School Board member Gary Yee in Oakland, Calif. on Wednesday Sept. 22, 2010. (Laura A. Oda/Staff)

Oakland Unified School District board member Gary Yee said Monday he will give up his District 4 seat in order to temporarily replace outgoing Superintendent Tony Smith, whose last day is June 30.

OUSD board members will vote whether to make Yee district chief during their Wednesday meeting. If approved, the board will then have 60 days to decide how to fill Yee's empty seat.

He said it was unlikely that he would try to get back his seat in November 2014, the earliest he could seek election again to the board.

"This is not some kind of chess game. This is the real deal," Yee said Monday afternoon.

The announcement that Yee could be appointed seemed as sudden as Smith's resignation on April 4.

After the shock, the board's major goal was to try not to disrupt the 5-year strategic plan, Yee said.

The board discussed a transition plan during two closed session meetings. Yee had excused himself after being asked if he would consider running the sprawling district. "I knew it was one of the options," he said.

Board members decided Yee would make a good candidate because he could "hit the ground running," board President David Kakishiba said Monday.

Yee began his career in public education in 1973 as a third-grade teacher at Cleveland Elementary School in Oakland and has a long track record, including serving as assistant to the superintendent from 1992 to 1995.

He was elected in 2002 to represent Oakland Unified District 4, which includes the neighborhoods of Allendale, Brookdale, Crestmont, Dimond, Estates Drive, High Street, Laurel, Maxwell Park, Melrose, Montclair, Oakmore, Piedmont Pines, Redwood Heights, Shepherd Canyon and Thornhill.

In 2008, he retired from the Peralta Community College District as vice chancellor for educational services.

Yee said he will not collect retirement if appointed as superintendent.

The board will have to decide on Yee's compensation if he is appointed and whether his replacement will be chosen through a special election run by Alameda County or selected by the board.

The board will launch the search for a permanent superintendent in September.