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Kyo Yamashiro, who oversees San Diego Unified’s Office of School Choice, will be stepping down soon, according to district spokesperson Ursula Kroemer.

Yamashiro took the job in July 2006. As director, she oversees charter schools, magnets, and No Child Left Behind-mandated programs that allow students in low-performing schools to transfer into other public schools. In the past, Yamashiro worked in Long Beach Unified School District, where she first became familiar with outgoing San Diego superintendent Carl Cohn. She recently returned from maternity leave.

So far, no one has been named to replace Yamashiro, Kroemer said.

Cohn’s planned departure this December has sparked speculation that nearly a dozen staffers who accompanied him from Long Beach, including Yamashiro, might be leaving as well. Superintendents typically appoint new staff when they arrive — a convention that adds to the instability of superintendent turnover.

Cohn’s many Long Beach appointees include General Counsel Ted Buckley, Executive Director of Curriculum and Instruction Jennifer Cheatham, Associate Superintendent Dorothy Harper and Deputy Superintendent Geno Flores, whose name has been whispered by some staffers as a potential in-house replacement for Cohn.

Some disgruntled staffers have referred to the Long Beach hirees as “Cohn’s Clones.” Cohn has countered that Long Beach, one of the country’s highest-achieving urban school districts, is worth emulating.

EMILY ALPERT

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