Pedro Martinez is one of two finalists in Philadelphia’s nationwide search for a superintendent of public schools to replace the embattled Arlene Ackerman, who abruptly resigned in August after three turbulent years.
That makes two possible superintendent slots for Martinez, who just finished his first year as deputy superintendent of Clark County School District and is also a finalist for superintendent of Washoe County schools.
At the School District of Philadelphia, Martinez would have to mend the fences broken by Ackerman, who received a $900,000 buyout to leave early after showing increased test scores and graduation rates but clashing with the teachers union, elected leaders and community members. In the Washoe County School District, Martinez would have to keep the improvements coming.
Last week, Washoe named Martinez one of five finalists under consideration to replace Heath Morrison, the 2012 American Association of School Administrators superintendent of the year. Morrison recently took the helm of Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools in North Carolina.
Under Morrison, Washoe’s graduation rate improved from 56 percent in 2009 to 70 percent in 2011. Martinez was Washoe’s deputy superintendent during that time. He came to Clark County in June 2011.
Compared with Clark County’s 308,000 students, which makes it the country’s fifth-largest school district, both Philadelphia, which has 146,000 students, and Washoe, which has 62,000 students, are smaller.
“I have known he wants to be a superintendent and gave him the out to pursue it,” said Clark County Superintendent Dwight Jones, who hired Martinez for a planned two-year minimum.
Martinez oversees instruction in Clark County, which announced improved graduation rates for this year. The district went from 59 percent last year to
65 percent this year.
Before coming to Nevada, Martinez was regional superintendent at Chicago Public Schools, the nation’s third-largest school district, with 409,000 students. He was also the Chicago’s chief financial officer for six years, overseeing a
$5.2 billion operating budget and $1 billion capital budget. During his time with Chicago schools, the district increased its reserves from $200 million to
$430 million, upgraded its bond rating and improved the number of students at grade level from 40 percent in 2003 to
70 percent in 2009.
Martinez’s background isn’t in education. He is a certified public accountant and was director of finance and technology for the Archdiocese of Chicago and audit manager at Deloitte & Touche and PricewaterhouseCoopers.
Contact reporter Trevon Milliard at email@example.com or 702-383-0279.