Skip to content

San Francisco schools ban the word ‘Chief’ from job titles, finding an alternative replacement

Note: This article may contain commentary or the author's opinion.

The San Francisco School District (SFUSD) stated Wednesday that the term “chief” will be removed from job titles owing to its relationship with Native Americans.

“At SFUSD we are eliminating the word ‘chief’ in people’s job titles and we’re still finalizing what the alternative title will be for people formerly called ‘chief,’” an SFUSD spokesman told the Daily Caller.

“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,” district spokesperson Gentle Blythe stated, according to the San Francisco Chronicle.

Blythe clarified that eliminating the term did not imply that job titles including it would be demoted, as reported.

“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 stated, according to the publication.

The “SFUSD is one of the largest employers in San Francisco,” according to a district representative, adding that “these positions hold a great deal of responsibility and require specific expertise.”

Cherokee Phoenix further reported: “The statement acknowledged that those positions require significant responsibility and specific expertise.

"*" indicates required fields

Katie Hobbs' press secretary has resigned for threatening to shoot 'transphobes' after the Nashville Christian school shooting. Should she be prosecuted?*
This poll gives you free access to our premium politics newsletter. Unsubscribe at any time.
This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

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

The district’s decision follows such moves as the recent renaming of Northern California’s former Squaw Valley Ski Resort. The word “squaw,” derived from the Algonquin language, has morphed over generations to a misogynist and racist term to disparage Indigenous women…

…This word that is still being used in well over 100 geographical areas in California,” Ramos said. “This word is very derogatory toward Native American women.”

The word “chief,” however, is commonly used to connote leadership and authority — from fire and police chiefs to chief executives, chief scientists and engineers, and a host of other jobs.

According to Webster’s New World dictionary, the origin and development of the word “chief” runs back through Middle English and Old French to Latin.

The San Francisco Chronicle tweeted: “The word “chief” will no longer be used in reference to job titles in the San Francisco Unified School District in an effort, school officials said, to avoid the word’s connotation with Native Americans. A replacement term has not been determined.”

When the news broke on Twitter, someone pointed out that the San Francisco Chronicle has an “editor in chief” listed on their website and provided the following screenshot.


This awesome news and commentary story syndicated with permission from Frank over at