IPS Superintendent Lewis Ferebee withdraws as candidate for same job in Los Angeles

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Indianapolis Public Schools Superintendent Lewis Ferebee said Thursday he has removed his name from consideration to lead the Los Angeles school district.

“After further discussing this endeavor with my family, the Indianapolis Board of School Commissioners, and those handling the search process, I have withdrawn my name from consideration,” Ferebee said in a statement distributed by IPS. “It was an honor to be have been considered for an opportunity of this magnitude.”

News broke Tuesday that Ferebee was a finalist to lead the nation’s second largest district.

Former investment banker Austin Beutner was considered the frontrunner for the job, according to the Los Angeles Times.

Ferebee had been another finalist, along with interim Los Angeles Superintendent Vivian Ekchian and former Baltimore Superintendent Andres Alonso.

Ferebee has made a name for himself nationally by overhauling IPS, converting low-performing schools into “innovation schools” run by outside charter operators but still under the district’s umbrella.

Ferebee’s consideration had been a signal that Los Angeles might further embrace what some call the “portfolio model”—the idea that all schools should be given freedom to operate as they see fit, but held accountable for their results, largely through test scores.

Under Ferebee’s tenure, IPS has embraced key tenets of the approach, including a common enrollment system for district and charter schools and an initiative that turns over district schools to nonprofit or outside charter operators who handle daily management. Some Los Angeles school board members have suggested the district move in a similar direction.

IPS Board President Michael O’Connor said earlier this week that Ferebee told him that he was approached by a hiring firm that asked him to be in the pool of candidates for the Los Angeles position. O’Connor noted that Ferebee has been with the district for nearly five years, longer than is typical for urban superintendents.

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