City Desk

Deborah Gist Quits Schools Post for Rhode Island Job

The world-record holder for most consecutive kisses in a minute is no longer employed by the District of Columbia.

WaPo's Bill Turque is reporting that State Superintendent of Education Deborah Gist has resigned to take a similar top job with an actual state—Rhode Island, to be precise.

Turque includes some fun stuff about tensions over Gist's role in the District's newfangled edubureaucracy:

While her agency took on increased responsibilities for special education, charter schools and compliance with federal laws, her influence was limited by her peculiar status under the terms of the mayoral takeover in which she was, in effect, a state superintendent without a state. Chancellor Michelle A. Rhee, a Fenty appointee, has been the dominant force in school reform. On the District's organizational chart, Gist actually reported to [Deputy Mayor Victor Reinoso].

At one point she asserted that she had authority over Rhee's plans to restructure the management of schools deemed to be failing under the federal No Child Left Behind Law, but she was later overruled by District lawyers. Last year, she was forbidden by Fenty to discuss teacher certification policy with a Post reporter.

Gist will be replaced by former assistant education secretary Kerri L. Briggs, Turque reports.

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