LYNWOOD — LaVoneia Steele, who had been acting superintendent of the 12,000-student Lynwood Unified School District for almost four months, was named superintendent Tuesday by the Board of Education.
The appointment becomes effective Oct. 1.
"I'm pleased with the confidence the board members are showing in me. Improving the educational program in the district is my highest priority," said Steele, who has been a district employee since 1976.
Board President Helen Andersen called Steele "a quality educator." And board member Thelma Williams said the board had experienced enough strife surrounding its superintendent and needed to get back to educating students.
Steele had been acting superintendent since June 4, after the board suspended former Supt. Charlie Mae Knight. She continued as acting superintendent after Knight resigned July 31.
Board members announced their decision after more than two hours in closed session. Andersen said the board had directed the district's attorney, Eric Bathen, to draw up a three-year contract for Steele and present it to board members at the next regular meeting Oct. 8.
Steele's salary as superintendent will be determined during contract negotiations with Bathen. Her salary as associate superintendent was $60,811 a year. Knight received more than $67,000 a year as superintendent.
Board member Joe Battle cast the only dissenting vote, saying that he preferred that the board conduct a nationwide search for a superintendent.
During the regular board meeting, two members of the audience, Cynthia Green-Geter and Lee Sampson, objected to Steele's appointment. Green-Geter, a candidate in the school board's Nov. 5 election, and Sampson, a candidate for the Lynwood City Council at the same time, said they both favored nationwide searches.
Steele has a bachelor of arts degree in education from Chicago Teachers College, a master's degree in education from the University of Chicago and a doctorate in education from Stanford University.
She came to the district as an assistant superintendent of educational services from West Covina Unified School District, where she was coordinator of state and federal projects. She was acting superintendent once before, serving five months prior to Knight's appointment in May, 1982.
Steele was associate superintendent of educational services for the Lynwood district under Knight.