OAKLAND -- The Oakland school board on Wednesday night announced the appointment of an interim superintendent -- Roberta Mayor, a chief management analyst at the state agency that reviews the district's progress under state receivership.

The announcement came one day after the state Superintendent Jack O'Connell returned additional powers to the board, including the authority to hire a leader who would report directly to the locally elected officials for the first time since the 2003 fiscal crisis and state takeover.

"I believe that it is critical that the appointment of an interim superintendent not be seen as a permanent solution to anything," said board member Gary Yee. Still, he added, "We believe it provides us an opportunity to operate transparently among each other and with our community."

As an analyst for the state Fiscal Crisis and Management Assistance Team, Mayor has reviewed the district's fiscal operations since 2003. She officially begins July 1 and will serve for up to one year.

Mayor will be charged with leading a national search for a superintendent; returning the district to full local control (a goal that depends heavily upon the ratings that her agency gives the school district); and implementing the financial recovery plan created by the board.

The Oakland school board now oversees three areas: community relations, personnel and facilities. The state department of education, through its administrator Vincent Matthews, still controls the district's academic policy and the budget.


In a closed session meeting earlier in the day, four board members voted in favor of the decision to move forward with an interim leader, while three -- Kerry Hamill, Noel Gallo and Chris Dobbins -- voted against the move, board president David Kakishiba reported.

The board also considered the option of waiting to hire a superintendent until full authority was restored to local hands.

Mayor has 40 years of experience in education, as a teacher, principal and superintendent in California and Hawaii, according to district staff.

"The past 5 years have afforded me the opportunity to observe the inner workings of the Oakland Unified School District and to develop great affection for Oakland Public Schools," Mayor stated in a district news release. "I am humbled and honored that the Board has entrusted me with the task of leading the District in its return to a solid financial position and full local control."

Contact Katy Murphy at kmurphy@bayareanewsgroup.com or (510) 208-6424. Visit her Oakland schools blog at www.ibabuzz.com/education.