White, who began his career as a high school English teacher, is currently the Superintendent of the Louisiana Recovery School District. Based on student population, the RSD is the fifth largest school district in Louisiana, although the state-run school district provides direct or indirect oversight to 79 of the state's most challenging schools in five parishes; schools are transferred to the RSD after failing to meet the state's minimum performance score for four consecutive years. "I want to salute the Louisiana Board of Education for appointing John White as the state's new superintendent," U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan said. "John is a visionary leader who has done great things in New York City and New Orleans, and I'm confident he'll do the same for the whole state of Louisiana."
Prior to becoming head of the RSD in May 2011, White served on the senior leadership team of New York City's Department of Education, the largest school system in the U.S. In his last role with NYC, he served as Deputy Chancellor of Talent.
White oversaw implementation of much of New York's R2T plan, including overhauling the city's teacher effectiveness system, and launched and led the Innovation Zone, a network of 100 21st Century schools where personalizing learning for students is achieved through new uses of technology.
White also served as Deputy Chief Operating Officer, as well as Chief Executive Officer of NYC's Portfolio Division, leading the city's efforts to turn around more than 100 failing schools and start 500 new schools. "Considering the high expectations we've set for our students, Superintendent White is the clear choice," BESE President Penny Dastugue said. "Specifically, when we look at the strategies we're pursuing - supporting the success of teachers and principals and turning around failing schools- John's demonstrated ability to advance similar initiatives in New York City and elsewhere makes him uniquely qualified.
His term as superintendent is effective immediately.