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— The Education Achievement Authority board of directors agreed unanimously Tuesday to retain Veronica Conforme as interim chancellor at least for the first month of the new school year.

Conforme, who became the temporary leader of the state-run recovery district in June, will stay in the post until Oct. 1, and possibly longer, under a contract extension. Under its terms, she will be paid $27,083.33 per month — the same salary paid to former Chancellor John Covington.

“I’m excited to serve our children and to move forward next week to the opening of our schools,” said Conforme after the vote. “I want to ensure they have a warm and safe environment, and I will be in the schools to make sure that happens.”

Conforme said the board will continue searching for a permanent replacement for Covington, who resigned suddenly with less than a year left on his contract. Conforme, 41, had been an adviser to the district since January.

The EAA, which runs 15 low-performing schools in Detroit, has struggled with funding problems and an enrollment drop of nearly 25 percent last fall.

Asked if she was being seriously considered to become permanent chancellor, Conforme replied, “I’m focused on doing the job I have right now.”

The contract extension states it can be extended past Oct. 1 by agreement between Conforme and the board.

Two EAA principals said they were pleased to learn Conforme will stay on for a while longer.

“I think the board made an excellent decision. She has made sound decisions since she’s been aboard, and we’re moving in a positive direction as a district,” said Steve McGhee, principal of Central Collegiate Academy.

Shirley Brown, principal of Pershing High School, said the district needs continuity as it begins its third year of classes.

“It’s very important that we stabilize leadership at the EAA so we can provide effective services to our students in the city of Detroit,” Brown said.

slewis@detroitnews.com

(313) 222-2296

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