Benjamin Demps

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Benjamin Demps (AP Photo/Cliff Schiappa)
KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) - Former Kansas City school superintendent Benjamin Demps has died. He was 79.

His grandson, Ricky Brown, of Kansas City, said Monday that Demps died Saturday of complications from surgery in Port Charlotte, Fla., where he had been living.

Demps was a non-educator when he was hired in 1999 as Kansas City's 19th superintendent in 30 years.

School board members were attracted by his leadership skills. He was a former Federal Aviation Administration official and worked in the early 1990s as director of the Oklahoma Department of Human Services.

But Demps lasted only 20 months in the Kansas City job. He was fired by the school board, then reinstated by a federal judge before resigning along with six members of his staff. Demps then retired to Florida.

Brown said a cremation is planned.

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