Michael Vaughn, the Director of Communications for the Department of Education (DOE), has stepped down following a series of public relations blunders.
Vaughn, 55, who previously held a similar role in Denver’s public schools, joined the DOE in August 2022.
Though he earned a salary of $222,972, which was only matched by a few other top-tier officials in Chancellor David Banks’ administration, Vaughn’s departure seemed inevitable, according to sources within the DOE.
Vaughn mentioned that his decision to resign came after a discussion with Kenita Lloyd, the Deputy Chancellor of Family and Community Engagement and External Affairs, who initially hired him. At the time of reporting, it is unclear as to whether Vaughn resigned or was asked to leave his position.
Recent months saw the DOE’s communications team fumbling on several fronts. For instance, the DOE published the 2023-24 school year calendar before finalizing a work-day agreement with the United Federation of Teachers.
Additionally, news about a data breach impacting 45,000 students was given to journalists days before informing the families affected.
Critics also blame the communications team for the poorly handled city plan to accommodate asylum seekers in school gyms, which led to public protests and a hasty policy retraction by Mayor Adams.
Adams is currently considering using vacant schools as temporary shelters for migrants during the summer, which is causing further discontent.
Vaughn has refrained from commenting on the criticisms. Likewise, City Hall and the DOE have not issued any public statements on the matter.
Vaughn’s exit follows the recent departures of two other high-ranking officials from Banks’ team.
Last month, Chief Strategy Officer Savita Bharadwa left the DOE. Neither City Hall nor Department of Education (DOE) officials have clarified whether she has a disagreement with Banks or Mayor Adams. However, a spokesperson for the Mayor stated that the DOE decided “it was best to part ways with this employee.”