Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Mayor-elect Emanuel names Jean-Claude Brizard new Chicago Public Schools CEO

Big news from Chicago: it's landed a new superintendent who – no surprise – used to work for Joel Klein:

Mayor-elect Emanuel names Jean-Claude Brizard new Chicago Public Schools CEO

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Posted by Kristen Mack and Joel Hood at 9:34 a.m.; last updated at 11:31 a.m.

Mayor-elect Rahm Emanuel today named Jean-Claude Brizard as the new Chicago Public Schools CEO.

Brizard comes to Chicago from Rochester, N.Y., where he spent about three years as schools superintendent. Brizard, who also spent 20 years as a teacher and administrator in New York City, is credited in Rochester with improving graduation rates and some test scores, but has clashed with teacher union officials over his support of charter schools and merit pay for teachers.

"J.C.'s leadership put Rochester schools on a new path," Emanuel said today at a news conference at Kelly High School on the Southwest Side. "J.C. has also made politically difficult decisions to put the children of Rochester first."

In February, a month after Brizard signed a new three-year contract that pays him $235,000 a year, the Rochester Teachers Association gave a no-confidence vote in the superintendent's ability to lead.

Emanuel also introduced the rest of his CPS team: Dr. Noemi Donoso, chief education officer; Tom Cawley, chief operating officer; Diana Ferguson, chief financial officer. The mayor-elect also announced his school board members: Penny Pritzker, David Vitale, Jesse Ruiz, Henrey Bienen, Dr. Mahalia Hines, Rod Sierra and Andrea Zopp.

Emanuel has been conducting a national search for someone to helm Chicago's beleaguered school district, which has had three CEOs in three years.

Emanuel has been looking for someone with experience in an urban school setting who can bring stability to the third-largest school district in the nation. The new CEO will be tasked with improving student performance, grappling with an estimated $720 million school budget shortfall and overseeing what is expected to be a contentious contract negotiation with the Chicago Teachers Union.

The school board president in Rochester, N.Y., told reporters there today that Jean-Claude Brizard is expected to resign after about three years.

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