Leah Wilson
School board president Leah Wilson: “Beyond bittersweet”
School board president Leah Wilson: “Beyond bittersweet”

Leah Wilson, president of the Berkeley Unified School District’s board, today announced her resignation, effective March 31. Wilson recently accepted an appointment as Court Executive Officer for the Alameda County Superior Court. That role presents potential conflicts of interest in future litigation.

“It’s potentially chilling to litigants that might be engaged in litigation with the district,” Wilson said. “It was something that I was told would not work. But it’s beyond bittersweet. It’s an incredible career opportunity and at the same time it has resulted in my not being able to fulfill the commitment I had made.”

Wilson was elected to the board in 2010 and assumed the presidency last year. She faced the delicate task of bringing the board together after a split over superintendent choice in the spring of 2012, and then the collapse of the search when finalist Edmond Heatley pulled out last fall.

According to Mark Coplan, BUSD spokesman, there is no precedent in Berkeley for replacing a board member. A press release from Coplan stated, “It is anticipated that the Board will seek applicants for a replacement appointment.” The matter will be discussed at a special meeting of the board at 6:25 p.m. this Wednesday, preceding the board’s study session on common core standards.

Wilson’s resignation comes as the board is in the middle of a search for a new superintendent, following last year’s failed search. The school district is also engaged in potentially contentious contract negotiations with the Berkeley Federation of Teachers.

School budget ‘cautiously positive’ despite challenges [03.13.13]
Berkeley teachers’ bonus plan rebuffed by district [03.07.13]
School board launches new superintendent search [02.13.13]
Fight relaunched to save school nutrition programs [11.19.12]
Berkeley schools show gains on standard tests [10.12.12]

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Lance Knobel (Berkeleyside co-founder) has been a journalist for nearly 40 years. Much of his career was in business journalism. He was editor-in-chief of both Management Today, the leading business magazine...