Michael Vaughn, the communications chief at the city Department of Education, has quit in the wake of a series of public relations missteps.
Vaughn, 55, a newcomer to NYC as the former chief of communications for Denver public schools, joined the DOE in August 2022.
He took home $222,972, a salary paid to just a handful of top execs on Chancellor David Banks’ leadership team — and more than what most superintendents get.
“He was asked to leave,” a DOE insider said.
“I resigned,” Vaughn told The Post.
“It was an end-of-the-year conversation,” he said. “I think we were on the same page on most things, but for high-stress jobs that leadership has running the school system, it’s important to be on the same page for everything, so I felt it was a good time to maybe part ways.”
Vaughn said the conversation was with Kenita Lloyd, deputy chancellor of family and community engagement and external affairs, who hired him. “I think the world of (Chancellor) David (Banks) and Kenita and the leadership there. Enjoyed working with them very much.”
The department’s communications team has repeatedly stumbled in recent months.
For instance, the DOE released a 2023-24 school calendar last month before reaching a work-day agreement with the United Federation of Teachers, a baffling change from the norm. “You don’t put the cart before the horse,” a principal said.
Most recently, a DOE spokesman briefed reporters on a data hack impacting 45,000 students — days before the DOE informed families about the alarming privacy breach.
Critics say the communications office botched its handling of a city plan to house asylum-seekers in school gyms, sparking parent protests and forcing Mayor Adams to backtrack. Now, Adams is eyeing a way to temporarily house migrants in empty schools over the summer, stirring more outrage.
“The DOE communications office is totally dysfunctional,” the insider said.
Vaughn, who is searching for a new job, would not comment on the criticism. City Hall and the DOE would not comment.
Vaughn’s dismissal follows the departure of two other top Banks appointees.
Last month, Chief Strategy Officer Savita Bharadwa, who made $213,000 a year, left the DOE.
City Hall and DOE officials would not say whether she had a falling out with Banks or Adams, but a mayoral spokesperson said the DOE decided “it was best to part ways with this employee.”
In March, Florida-import Desmond Blackburn, Banks’ deputy chancellor for leadership, left the DOE after one year in the $265,000 job. Banks had named Adams’ longtime girlfriend Tracey Collins a “special advisor” to Blackburn, giving her a 23% raise to $221,597 a year.
Blackburn became president and CEO of a Boston-based non-profit, Facing History & Ourselves, a DOE vendor that helps schools fight bigotry and hate.