When Dr. Earl Perkins began teaching in the early 1970s, his main goal was helping students. Starting as a teacher on the east coast, he joined the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) in 1977 and throughout his tenure; his commitment to that philosophy as well as the profession has never wavered.
Perkins served the District in several positions including teacher, coordinator, principal and assistant superintendent. In every assignment, his mission was to help all students achieve.
Even as he prepares to retire from LAUSD as the associate superintendent of Division of District Operations, Perkins will not abandon that mission. In fact, he will be relocating to Baton Rouge, Louisiana to work on educational policy with the mayor.
Looking back on his long career, Perkins said, “One of my biggest focuses has always been the safety of students. That has been my major concern for the last 40 years. I wanted to make sure students were treated fairly and equitably.”
His dedication to students was apparent as he successfully managed a number of high-profile LAUSD projects such as the District-Wide implementation of Restorative Justice practices, the development of an efficient Safe School Plan system that led to a state-of-the-art Emergency Operations Center (EOC), and the restructuring of the Interscholastic Athletics Department.
“This work resulted in L.A. Unified changing its discipline policies by utilizing alternatives to school suspensions, establishing a coordinated EOC to respond rapidly to any emergency and a student-friendly, character-building athletic department that offers opportunities for students to participate in sports,” said Perkins.
He received more acclaim while serving as assistant superintendent of Special Projects where he developed strategies to improve 17 of the lowest performing high schools and 10 middle schools in the District. As assistant superintendent of School Operations, Perkins created initiatives to support schools in creating a safe and caring environment that ensures learning.
“Earl has been an invaluable contributor to the District for many years and in many capacities. He has possessed an unimpeachable integrity, commitment to his job and service to children and families and the protection of our schools,” said Dr. George McKenna of the LAUSD Board of Education.
“All of his work has been outstanding, the sacrifices have been numerous, and he leaves a place that most of us find impossible to replace. I have admired him for many years and consider him a colleague and a friend.”
Despite a demanding career, Perkins shares his time and talents with many community and professional organizations. He serves on a number of committees established by the Office of L.A. Mayor Eric Garcetti, L.A. County and the State of California.
Also, he is active with Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, the Association of California State Administrators. As a member of Brookins-Kirkland Community AME Church for more than 30 years, he participates in the Music Ministry, the Men’s Ministry and the Young People’s Division.
Moving into the next phase of his life, Perkins aims to approach it with the same values that brought him thus far. “As long as I know God is always watching over me, I can always do the things He wants me to do,” he said.
Giving credit to his family, Perkins added, “My wife, Joel; my children and my grandkids have always been very supportive. Also, my grandchildren appreciate seeing their grandfather helping others become more aware of situations and to make good decisions. They like what I do because it helps people.”