Top NY education official says no to Newark schools chief job

Newark Mayor Cory Booker had just the person in mind to fix his city’s public schools, but that candidate — a top-ranking New York education official — turned the job down.

John King, the newly appointed second in command of New York State’s Education Department, is that New Yorker. Two sources confirm that King was offered the job of Newark schools superintendent, which would have put him in charge of 40,000 students and a recent $100 million gift from Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg.

New Jersey State Department of Education officials decided not to renew the contract of the city’s current superintendent, Clifford Janey, back in August.

King joined SED a year ago and helped the department was prepare its application for Race to the Top, a federal grant competition that the state won last month. Now with $696 million to spend on improvements to New York’s schools, King is choosing to stick around and see the plan through.

“John King has no comment on the Newark superintendency,” said SED spokesman Tom Dunn. “He is  fully engaged in implementing New York State’s Race to the Top plan.”

Other education leaders in New York have been approached about the job. Newark’s Star Ledger has reported that New York City deputy chancellor John White and former deputy schools chancellor Christopher Cerf are both under consideration.