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NEWORLEANS-- Anthony Amato, the former superintendent of the Orleans Parish School system and current head of International High School of New Orleans, has died. He was 66.

Officials from the International High School said Amato died early Monday morning.

'With heavy hearts, we announce the loss of our school leader, Anthony Amato. Tony passed away unexpectedly yet peacefully surrounded by his beloved family. The International High School and the entire education community is greatly indebted to Tony for his tireless and lifelong dedication to public education,' Rob Couhig, who sits on the school's governing board, said in a statement.

Amato, who was selected and brought to NewOrleans Public Schools ten years ago as a reformer, led the Orleans Parish public school system from 2003 to 2005. He spent more than two years at the helm, during a trying time that saw him trying to correct years of poor management and financial waste.

Before long, his tenure turned stormy and he battled the School Board over numerous issues, before agreeing to resign. Amato left in 2005, just a few weeks before Hurricane Katrina struck and fragmented the system into a network of OPSB, charter and state-run schools.

He went on to supervise two other troubled school districts, in Kansas City and Stockton, California, but returned to NewOrleans in 2010.

He began his educational career as a bilingual teacher of math and science in Bronx, New York, later becoming a principal and then superintendent in five school districts, including NewOrleans.

Funeral arrangements for Amato are pending. He is survived by his wife and seven children.

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