The founder of Green Dot Public Schools - a nationally renowned cluster of charter schools in Los Angeles County that includes two in the South Bay - has stepped down from the organization's board of directors.
Steve Barr founded Green Dot in 1999, starting with Animo Charter Leadership in Inglewood. Over the years the franchise grew to include 18 schools, including Locke High in Watts, which Green Dot acquired in 2007 from the Los Angeles Unified School District in what has been widely referred to as a hostile takeover. Green Dot is now regarded as one of California's most successful charter-school organizations.
Green Dot announced Barr's departure in a press release sent late Monday afternoon. The statement did not say why Barr decided to resign.
Reached shortly after the announcement, Green Dot spokesman Gabriel Sanchez said Barr didn't provide a reason for his resignation. In a tersely worded email sent to school officials last Tuesday, Barr simply stated, "Please accept my resignation from the board."
Barr left the management team of Green Dot Public Schools in 2008. At that point, Marco Petruzzi became the chief executive officer, having served as Green Dot's chief operating officer since 2006. Barr continued to serve on Green Dot's board of directors until he stepped down.
"Steve has been and continues to be an innovator in public education," said Marlene Canter, chairwoman of Green Dot's board of directors, in Monday's statement.
Barr's success with Green Dot - and in particular with Locke High - caught the attention of the Obama administration. In 2009, he met with U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan to discuss how to replicate Green Dot's success elsewhere.
Barr also is the founder and chairman of Future Is Now Schools, a separate nonprofit with no affiliation to Green Dot Public Schools. In addition, he co-founded Rock the Vote, a nonprofit group that seeks to get young voters to the polls.
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