BALTIMORE, Md. – Black Lives Matter activist and failed Baltimore mayoral candidate DeRay Mckesson is the city school district’s new chief of human capital.
Incoming Baltimore City Public Schools CEO Sonja Santelises announced Tuesday that 30-year-old Mckesson will take over the cabinet position from interim chief Deborah Sullivan, who will return to her former position as executive director of organizational development, The Baltimore Sun reports.
Mckesson made himself famous through the Black Lives Matter movement after he took leave from his job at Minneapolis Public Schools to protest the police shooting of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri. More recently, Mckesson ran a last minute campaign for mayor of Baltimore and was beaten badly, coming in sixth in the Democratic primary with only 2.6 percent of the vote, according to the news site.
The Baltimore native is popular on Twitter with about 420,000 followers, and his focus on police brutality and racial tensions have made him the darling of liberal elites like President Obama and Hillary Clinton, “who dubbed Mckesson a ‘social media emperor,’” the Sun reports.
Mckesson previously worked in the district’s office of human capital as a strategist, as well as an assistant to the director, between August 2011 and December 2013, according to Fox Baltimore.
Mckesson was the senior director of human capital in Minneapolis.
He is expected to serve in his new position in Baltimore, at an annual salary of $165,000, at least through the fall, while district officials complete a nationwide survey for a permanent replacement. Mckesson will oversee a $4 million budget and 56 employees, the Sun reports.
“The office of human capital has a history of failing to fully staff schools, process paperwork and produce reliable data. Schools opened last year without enough teachers and principals. Hundreds of teachers and school staff also did not receive their first few paychecks on time,” according to the news site.
The office is responsible for implementing school reforms and staffing schools, CBS Baltimore reports.
Santelises said she expects Mckesson to hit the ground running when he starts of Friday.
“We have no time to waste. Every day in class is precious for our students, and every school must be ready to go when the opening bell rings,” she said in a statement. “Mr. Mckesson has the hands-on experience, leadership skills, and energy to help us make that happen.”
Mckesson is Santelises second cabinet position appointment since taking over the district, and followed a May announcement of Alison Perkins-Cohen as her new chief of staff, at an annual salary of $178,500, according to the Sun.
Alison Perkins-Cohen said Mckesson has “proven himself to be an able and tireless administrator with strong leadership and organizational abilities,” who will be a good fit until the district finds a permanent human capital officer, Fox Baltimore reports.
“That person will benefit immensely from the foundation that Mr. Mckesson will be instrumental in setting between now and the fall,” she said.
In his bid for mayor, Mckesson, a former Teach for America recruit, called for “expanding full-day Pre-K to enroll all low-income 3- and 4-year-olds, the public release of all internal audits of the city school system, and reforming state funding formulas to prevent tax deals for developers from hurting school funding,” according to the Sun.
“He also said he wanted to ‘radically transform’ Baltimore’s community college, create a fund for occupational skills training and fully incorporate arts education into all schools.”