November 25, 2018
The city’s first-ever education chief, Rahn Dorsey, has left his position amid Boston Public Schools’ search for a new superintendent, putting into question the future leadership direction of the city’s school system.
Dorsey, who came on in 2014 from the philanthropic world as a former director at the Barr Foundation, was seen as a bridge between public schools, charter and parochial schools. He was often behind many major initiatives like the city’s plan to expand pre-kindergarten, the 10-year BuildBPS plan and the failed universal enrollment system. He left his position Wednesday.
“Rahn did an incredible job here in the city for five years,” Mayor Martin J. Walsh told the Herald yesterday. “He was an amazing person, did an amazing job. I’m sad to see him go but, like a lot of people, there is a time when everyone moves on.”
Walsh did not say why Dorsey moved on or where.
“Rahn was the pioneer in that role,” Walsh said. “When we started BuildBPS, it started in Rahn’s shop. We started universal pre-kindergarten. It started in Rahn’s shop. We started a whole bunch of different programs that are now in the BPS. They all started under Rahn’s leadership. I’m proud of the work he has done.”
Dorsey’s departure comes in the middle of a time of transition for the city’s schools with the search ongoing for the next superintendent to replace Tommy Chang, who resigned in June. It also comes amid the city’s controversial BuildBPS proposals to shutter some schools next year with the ultimate goal to close middle schools.
Some teachers, parents and education leaders say the move is an opportunity for Walsh to reset his education agenda and create greater cooperation between the future education chief and superintendent.
“It raises a big question as to whether Boston is going to have a search for a new superintendent and a new education chief,” said Peggy Wiesenberg, a parent activist.
“The role needs to complement the role of superintendent,” said City Councilor Annissa Essaibi-George.
Walsh said he has no time frame yet of when he’ll choose Dorsey’s replacement.