Superintendent, Los Angeles Unified School District
Roy Romerís career has spanned the private sector, the world of politics and the field of education. Romer was named Superintendent of Schools of the Los Angeles Unified School District by the Los Angeles City Board of Education on June 6, 2000, and he became LAUSDís 45th superintendent on July 1, 2000, the effective date of his three-year appointment. His contract has since been renewed twice, extending it to June 30, 2007.
At the outset of his tenure, Romer focused resources and attention on the issues of instruction and construction of schools. He embarked upon ambitious literacy and math plans, which include computer-based learning programs and hundreds of instructional coaches for teachers with the clear objective of vastly improving classroom instruction. The results have been outstanding in the elementary grades with some scores in reading and math reaching above the national levels for the first time in decades. The rate of growth is twice that of the state of California. As elementary grade reading scores and math performance have demonstrated progress, secondary schools are also reflecting similar improvement. Most recently, Romer has turned his attention to building small learning communities so students receive a more personalized experience to improve academic performance and reduce the drop-out rate.
Romer has also been instrumental in LAUSDís ongoing historic achievements in building and repairing schools. Under his leadership, voters in the District have approved the two largest local school bonds in U.S. history, totaling over $7 billion. Combined with matching State bond dollars, LAUSDís construction program is the largest public works program in the nation. Ultimately 160 new schools will be built throughout the region. The Districtís repair program is also providing much needed upgrades to existing schools, many over 100 years old. These new schools, and the upgrades of existing schools, will be a hallmark of Romerís leadership for decades to come.
Roy Romer was Governor of Colorado for three terms, from 1986 to 1998, becoming the nationís senior Democratic governor, and was the general chairman of the Democratic National Committee from 1997 to 2000. He has long been an advocate for educational issues at the state and national levels. He was vice chair of the Democratic Leadership Council, an information-age think tank that examines national political and policy issues, where he studied effective educational strategies and school reform initiatives. He served as chair of the Educational Commission of the States and the National Education Goals Panel.
His energy, enthusiasm, "can-do" leadership style and ability to build consensus on complex and controversial issues attracted him to the Los Angeles school district. As superintendent, he assumed the top leadership role in a newly reorganized district with a streamlined centralized staff with local districts given extensive authority and autonomy at the school and community level. The Los Angeles Unified School District is the nationís second largest public school system with an enrollment of 718,130, 38,400 teachers and 2,500 administrators, 35,000 classified employees and a budget of $13.3 billion.
Romer grew up in southeastern Colorado. He and his wife, Bea, have seven children and 18 grandchildren. Romer holds a bachelorís degree in agricultural economics from Colorado State University (1950), a law degree from the University of Colorado (1952), and he studied ethics at Yale University.
He is a man with an insatiable intellectual curiosity and a leadership style to radically alter bureaucratic culture.