When Philadelphia schools chief Paul Vallas departs this summer for his new job in New Orleans, he won't be going by himself.
To help him rebuild that city's Hurricane Katrina-damaged schools, Vallas has persuaded a crop of current and former high-ranking School District of Philadelphia officials to join him, the Daily News has learned.
Carey Dearnley, a spokeswoman for the School Reform Commission, yesterday said the departures will not affect the management of the district.
"We're confident that we'll have stability and continuity in this transition," she said. "Yes, a few people may go with Paul, but there are a lot of others who have many years of loyal service to the school district who will remain."
Vallas, who has been in New Orleans since last week serving as an education consultant, could not be reached for comment yesterday.
Vallas' taking people with him to New Orleans follows the pattern he set when he brought about a dozen people with him to Philadelphia from his native Chicago in 2002.
This time, the highest-ranking official is Chief Accountability Officer LaVonne Sheffield, a district employee since June 2004.
Sheffield, who earns $176,000 a year, analyzes and reports academic data to ensure that student progress is on track. She couldn't be reached for comment yesterday.
Also exiting is Nilsa Gonzalez, a $500-a-day consultant in the Office of School Management since retiring from running that office in August 2005. As head of that office, she earned $101,500 annually, a district spokeswoman said.
She now oversees the six private-school-management organizations that run 41 low-performing schools.
Others leaving with Vallas are:
* Christine Harris, a Chicago transplant who resigned from the district several years ago as director of capital programs.
* Creg Williams, also from Chicago, was a deputy chief academic officer earning $163,537 before he resigned in 2005.
* Edward Williams, who retired in 2004 as chief academic officer earning $161,200. *