UPDATE: The Ithaca Voice published this follow-up article detailing Brown’s ex-wife’s allegations against him for abuse of office and ethical wrongdoing on Jan. 13, the day after Brown’s announcement. 

ORIGINAL STORY:

ITHACA, N.Y.—Ithaca City School District Superintendent Dr. Luvelle Brown has resigned, effective Feb. 1, 2021. He announced the decision at Tuesday night’s ICSD Board of Education meeting, and the board accepted his resignation. His stated reasoning for his surprise departure is that he is taking a job with Discovery Education, becoming its head of Equity, Diversity and Inclusion.

Brown leaves after a celebrated decade at the helm of the district, but in the middle of maybe its most difficult period as districts across the country grapple with challenges brought about by the coronavirus pandemic.

During his time at ICSD, he received a slew of individual recognitions, and the district was widely awarded as well. Listed in the press release are:

  • Being named one of New York State’s first and largest 1:1 technology initiatives

  • Improving graduation rates from 78% to as high as 94%

  • Increasing enrollment and diversity in higher-level courses and earning College Board AP Honor Roll for this effort

  • Having Ithaca High School be named one of the best high schools for STEM (#48 nationally)

  • Having US News rank Ithaca High School in the top 2.5% of high schools in the nation (Gold Medal Distinction)

  • Receiving the National Association of Music Merchants (NAMM) Best Communities for Music Education Award for the last six consecutive years

  • Receiving the New York State School Boards Association Champions of Change for Kids Award-Aspiring Educators Award and Program

Individually, Brown was named the New York State Superintendent of the Year in 2017, and was honored with the Tompkins County Distinguished Citizen Award in 2019. He co-chairs the New York State Council of Superintendents Commission on Diversity and Inclusivity and was recently appointed to the Learning 2025: National Commission on Student-Centered, Equity-Focused Education. Brown was also recently chosen to deliver the keynote speech to the National Alliance of Black School Educators in October 2020.

“I am blessed to live and work in this wonderful community,” Brown said. “We have accomplished much together over the past decade and I am excited for the future of our school district. The decision to transition has been very difficult. While I will miss serving as Superintendent in Ithaca, I am looking forward to scaling my influence and directly impacting teaching and learning for millions of students and educators all over the world.”

Board members joined in their praise of him and his tenure.

“It will be nearly impossible to replace Dr. Brown,” ICSD Board of Education President Rob Ainslie said in a press release announcing the departure.  “He has been an amazing leader and community member. We wish him great success in his new role.”

The release said that Deputy Superintendent Lily Talcott is expected to be named the interim superintendent at the next board meeting. Brown will help consult with the district during the transition.

This is a developing story. More updates will follow. 

Matt Butler

Matt Butler is the Education & Public Health Reporter at the Ithaca Voice. He can be reached by email at mbutler@ithacavoice.com