Yesterday, the Washington Post's Emma Brown revealed that D.C. Mayor Gray has named Abigail Smith, the board chair of E.L. Haynes Public Charter School as his choice to succeed De'Shawn Wright as his Deputy Mayor for Education. Ms. Smith's name should be familiar to many in the local charter school movement as she was one of three final candidates for the position of executive director of the Public Charter School Board before Scott Pearson was hired. At the time she served under DCPS Chancellor Rhee as chief of transformation management. Most recently, Ms. Smith has been assisting the PCSB with developing common charter school application deadline and lottery dates. Ms. Smith is also an E.L. Haynes parent representative.
The selection has to lift the spirit of those involved in education reform. The Deputy Mayor's Office will have much to say regarding the disposition of surplus traditional schools. Chancellor Henderson has said that she will retain control of the 15 sites she is planning to shutter. We can only hope that with Ms. Smith appointment this highly regrettable decision to not turn them over to charters will now be reversed.