The School District of Philadelphia today named veteran educator William Wade to head the low-performing Martin Luther King High School in East Germantown.

Wade, who most recently served as head of Vaux Promise Academy, has had success "in reversing the downward spiral of academics at some of the country's most underperforming schools," said Jamilah Fraser a district spokeswoman in a statement.

In taking the post, Wade was optimistic.

"In the weeks ahead, I look forward to rolling up my sleeves and preparing a comprehensive academic overhaul plan for this school," Wade said. "My mission is simple: Provide the same quality education to the students of King that I would want for my own children.

"My children and I are products of a quality public education and I wouldn't have anything less for the students of Martin Luther King High School," Wade said.

The high school had been set to become a charter earlier this year under the district's Renaissance school-reform plan.

In April, the company that had signed on to run MLK as a charter withdrew its bid, citing a climate of "unrelenting hostility."

Foundations, a New Jersey nonprofit, was the second potential charter operator that month to walk away from the school.

The decision came amidst allegations of conflicts of interest and political wrangling involving the School Reform Commission Chairman Robert L. Archie Jr. and Rep. Dwight Evans (D., Phila.) over the school's future. The school is adjacent to Evans' West Oak Lane district.

Based on the school's 1,100 students, a charter operator would have received about $10 million.

Contact staff writer Sam Wood at 215-854-2796 or samwood@phillynews.com.

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