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Broad Foundation training percolates deeply into L.A.'s school leadership

December 16, 2009 |  1:18 pm

School improvement efforts funded by local billionaire philanthropist Eli Broad are reaching ever deeper into the Los Angeles Unified School District. A notable example is the presence of Matt Hill, who is managing the district’s highest-profile reform initiative, through which 30 campuses could be taken over by groups inside or outside the school system. As reported in today’s paper, Hill’s position, except for benefits, is funded by the Broad Foundation.

Other L.A. Unified senior managers also went through Broad-funded training. Parker Hudnut is the recently hired executive director of the district’s innovation and charter division. Yumi Takahashi is the budget director. The district pays for these positions, which were filled through the normal hiring process.

Like them, Hill is an alumnus of the Broad Residency in Urban Education, a two-year program that places recent master's degree graduates into managerial positions in urban school districts. During the residency, the foundation pays 50% of a participant’s salary the first year and 25% the second year.
Residents also receive intensive training.

Hill was a Broad resident in the Oakland Unified School District, where he served as executive officer for strategic projects. Earlier, he’d worked in Black & Decker's business development group. He’s also been a strategy consultant with the UCLA/Johnson & Johnson Head Start Management Fellows Program and a consultant in the financial services industry.

Current Broad residents occupy key positions with two local charter school management organizations, Green Dot Public Schools and ICEF Public Schools. A vigorous backer of charter schools, Broad also has provided grants totaling about $58 million to local charter schools and organizations that assist them. Charters are independently managed public schools that are free from some regulations that apply to traditional schools.

There’s also a Broad stamp on the leadership of the nonprofit that manages 11 schools for Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa. The mayor’s nonprofit, called the Partnership for Los Angeles Schools, is headed by Chief Executive (and former Broad resident) Marshall Tuck. Its chief operating officer is current resident Mark Kleger-Heine. And the superintendent of instruction is Angela Bass, who attended the Broad Superintendents Academy, a 10-month program that trains working CEOs and other top executives from business, nonprofit, military, government and education backgrounds to lead urban school systems. 

Another graduate of the superintendent’s academy is former L.A. Unified official Kathi Littmann, who headed the district’s innovation division.

-- Howard Blume