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Baltimore City Public Schools’ highest-profile employee is leaving his North Avenue office behind.

The Baltimore Sun’s Luke Broadwater first reported McKesson’s impending departure on Friday. McKesson dished on the news in a Twitter thread this morning, calling his short-lived tenure with the city school system “incredible” and offering praise for City Schools CEO Dr. Sonja Santelises. The activist said he plans to now “devote more time to organizing.”

For the past year, I’ve been the Chief Human Capital Officer for @BaltCitySchools. I’m leaving this month. It’s been an incredible year.

— deray (@deray) July 17, 2017

I’ve led a team of approx. 50 staff with a district of 11,000 employees & > 175 schools. Kids deserve great teachers. Staff deserve support.

— deray (@deray) July 17, 2017

The current school system CEO is incredible. I wanted to support her first year. Now is time for me to devote more time to organizing.

— deray (@deray) July 17, 2017

I love Bmore. & I know they transformative change will only occur when we are as organized on the inside as the outside. Lead everywhere.

— deray (@deray) July 17, 2017

The prominent activist accepted a position as interim chief human capital officer with City Schools last summer. He’d previously served in Baltimore schools as a human capital specialist and special assistant to the chief of human capital. He went on to work as the senior director of human capital in Minneapolis Public Schools before returning to Baltimore.

McKesson, 32, is best known nationally for his role in the Black Lives Matter activist movement that targets systemic racism. He’s been a leading voice in the movement since its inception in 2013. Last July, he was arrested with nearly 200 other protesters for obstructing a roadway in Baton Rouge, La.

The protest occurred days after police fatally shot Alton Sterling. Prosecutors eventually dropped charges against McKesson and 97 others. He’s since been named as a defendant in a lawsuit filed by a cop who was hit in the head with a rock and, more recently, a sheriff’s deputy who was shot during a deadly episode targeting law enforcement nearly two weeks after McKesson was arrested, per The Advocate.

Before he took his most recent job with City Schools, McKesson ran for mayor. He placed sixth out of 13 candidates in the April 2016 Democratic primary.

McKesson has balanced his roles as a school administrator, activist, podcast host and public speaker over the last year. His position wasn’t meant to be permanent when he was hired last summer, officials said at the time.

A spokeswoman for City Schools confirmed he’ll be leaving later this month. Santelises has said she expects to name his replacement by the end of July, the spokeswoman said.

McKesson earned a salary of $165,000 in his post.

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Ethan McLeod

Ethan McLeod is a freelance reporter in Baltimore. He previously worked as an editor for the Baltimore Business Journal and Baltimore Fishbowl. His work has appeared in Bloomberg CityLab, Next City and...

2 replies on “One Year In, DeRay McKesson Says He’s Leaving his Job with Baltimore City Schools”

  1. well, what did he learn and what did he contribute? I see nothing from this article. And paying him $165K, wow, overpaid for sure.

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