San Francisco school district eliminated 'chief' from job titles out of respect for Native Americans

The school district made the official decision Wednesday.

Updated: May 26, 2022 - 3:26pm

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The San Francisco public school district announced Thursday it will drop the word "chief" from all job titles out of respect for Native Americans.

A spokesperson for the San Francisco Unified School District said the decision was made Wednesday.

"While there are many opinions on the matter, our leadership team agreed that, given that Native American members of our community have expressed concerns over the use of the title, we are no longer going to use it," spokesperson Gentle Blythe told the San Francisco Chronicle.

According to the district's official website, the school district employees 13 people whose official titles include the word "chief."

Some of those employees include the chief technology officer, chief of staff, and chief academic officer. The titles have, of Thursday, not yet been altered on the site.

It is unclear what the new titles of those impacted will be.

"By changing how we refer to our division heads we are in no way diminishing the indispensable contributions of our district central service leaders," Blythe also said. 

The word "chief" as it is used in the English language traces its origins back to the Old French word "chef," meaning "head of group." In modern English, however, it can be associated with "chieftains," the name of Native American tribal leaders.

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