The name of Anthony J. Tata, a retired brigadier general, became a familiar one in Wake County starting in December 2010, when the county school board named him superintendent of the 150,000-student school system. Known as Tony Tata, he achieved significant change in several areas, but ultimately got the boot from the Democratic-led board in September 2012, following widespread problems with the school bus system.
In January 2013, Gov. Pat McCrory named Tata head of the state transportation department. Tata, resigned from that post Tuesday.
A time line of Tata’s career:
Born Sept. 7 in Norfolk, Va.
Graduates from United States Military Academy at West Point.
Receives Master of Arts in International Relations from Catholic University of America.
Serves as the 82nd Airborne Division’s planning chief for the invasion of Haiti.
Serves as a National Security Fellow at the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University.
Publishes “Sudden Threat,” the first in a series of military thrillers.
Retires from the army as a brigadier general and attends the Broad Superintendents Academy in California, a 10-month program designed to train business people and retired members of the military in how to become superintendents in urban school districts.
Becomes chief operating officer of the District of Columbia Public Schools, in charge of purchasing, food service, technology and other support areas in the school district.
The Wake County School Board hires Tata as superintendent in a 4-2 vote. Only Republicans vote yes. His contract allows him to continue speaking about politics and military affairs on network news shows and websites if he does them on his own time and if he represents himself as a retired U.S. Army brigadier general, not as Wake’s superintendent.
The school board puts Tata in charge of developing a new student assignment plan.
Accuses Democratic school board candidate Jim Martin, who would eventually be elected, of issuing an “inaccurate press release” and making “untrue” statements about staff.
At Tata’s urging, the school board votes 6-2 to approve the choice-based student assignment plan.
School board member Kevin Hill wins an election runoff to complete a Democratic sweep of five seats, giving the party a 5-4 majority. Hill says he’d give Tata an “A-” grade for his performance and expects him to stay.
NAACP and the Great Schools in Wake Coalition urge the public to lobby for changes in the system’s new student assignment plan, warning that it could result in resegregation.
Tata charges new Democratic school board members Susan Evans and Christine Kushner with potential ethics violations over their ties with the Great Schools in Wake Coalition; he later apologizes.
The school board votes to extend Tata’s contract by six months, through December 2014.
Evans apologizes for using a vulgarity to describe Tata in an email circulated among Great Schools in Wake members.
During a school board meeting, Tata says that new board members have been “throwing the staff under the bus” and “disrespected” staff. Evans accuses Tata of being “defensive” and not showing her respect.
The board’s Democratic majority directs staff to come up with an address-based student assignment plan for the 2013-14 school year that includes diversity as a component.
Students have longer bus rides in the new school year because of a transportation plan that cut costs by putting fewer buses on the road to serve more riders. Wake faces record enrollment for 2012-13.
Tata takes responsibility for bus problems and pledges to improve the situation that has affected thousands of students and their families.
Staff presents a new student assignment plan that Democratic members complain is short on details on how to keep schools from having too many low-performing students.
The Democratic-led school board votes to fire Tata after less than 20 months on the job. He receives a severance package of $253,625.
Republican Gov.-elect Pat McCrory selects Tata to head the state N.C. Department of Transportation.
Lawsuit is filed claiming that DMV discriminates against drivers with disabilities by subjecting them to unnecessary road tests and medical exams and arbitrarily restricting their driving.
Tata names Jeff Mann, a former regional executive for Amtrak, to serve as deputy secretary for transit.
Oversees DOT snow response while out of town to promote his latest military action novel, “Foreign and Domestic.”
Criticizes President Barack Obama’s nuclear talks with Iran on Fox News.
NCDOT announces 70 layoffs.
McCrory unveils a bond proposal of $1.2 billion to $1.4 billion for transportation projects. DOT released a list of 19 projects the bond would pay for.
Gov. McCrory and Secretary Tata attend the ceremonial groundbreaking for Raleigh’s $80 million Union Station transit hub.
Submits a memo stating that he will not run for Congress, saying “I remain committed to serving the citizens of North Carolina as Transportation Secretary.”
DOT and the Southern Environmental Law Center settle a 2011 lawsuit that prevented DOT from executing a $215.8 million contract for the Bonner Bridge replacement.
Announces resignation as transportation secretary.