Wake County school superintendent fired from post
CARY (AP) — The Wake County school board voted Tuesday to fire Superintendent Tony Tata, not quite two years after he assumed the role.
Tata, 53, was the choice of a board with a Republican majority in January 2011. The vote to fire the leader of North Carolina's largest school system came from a board with a Democratic majority.
Tata said he reluctantly entered into separation negotiations with the school board after a majority voted to dismiss him Monday afternoon.
"I am proud of all that we have accomplished as a school system in the last 20 months," Tata said at a brief news conference following the vote. "We have so much more to do, and so much more that I wanted to do."
Democratic board members didn't disclose at the meeting the reasons for their decision, but said the move was not based on politics.
"The decision we're making tonight is a heavy decision for everyone. This is not a personal decision. It is a personnel decision," board member Jim Martin said. "The vote I cast is not a partisan vote. I never have and never will cast a partisan vote."
Stephen Gainey was named acting superintendent for a period of up to 60 days. He's currently assistant superintendent in charge of human resources.
Tata was the chief operating officer of the District of Columbia Public Schools when the Republican board majority hired him. Before that, he had been a U.S. Army brigadier general who had attended the Broad Superintendents Academy, a program that trains non-educators to work in school systems.
He succeeded Del Burns, who announced his resignation in February 2010 after refusing to implement the school board's plan to end Wake County's socioeconomic diversity program.
Concerns over Tata's tenure had heightened after a series of public disputes with Democrats on the board, complaints about a new student assignment plan and extended troubles over busing more than 70,000 students.