The Chicago Teachers Union and others Thursday night were calling for someone with an education background to get the job. They want a special panel to conduct the search.
For Richard Daley, Ron Huberman has been a go-to guy. Huberman was a police officer who brought new technology to crime fighting, who headed the Office of Emergency Management, then the CTA, and last as CEO of Chicago schools.
Huberman had earlier said he would not immediately be leaving his schools post. However, he has now announced he is resigning effective at the end of the month, after telling the mayor he wants to spend more time with family and move into the private sector.
"When people want to leave, they want to leave," said Mayor Richard Daley. "You can't hold people back. That's unacceptable."
Daley on Thursday was effusive in his praise for Huberman, calling him a "wonderful example of a public servant."
Daley said a replacement for Huberman will be named by the end of the month.
"Let's do it right - let's not rush to just throw someone in who is just good enough - not put in just another sub," said Chicago Teachers Union President Karen Lewis. "Let's do this right."
Union leaders and school activists say Huberman's departure is an opportunity to launch a blue-ribbon national search for a replacement, and they clearly want a seat at the table.
"Let's take us back to old-school, when all you heard about was a superintendent and not a CEO," said Madeline Talbot of Action Now.
"It's very simple," said Carolina Gaete of Blocks Together. "We need to change this model. It has not worked."
The old argument was that the old model, with superintendent as the lead, did not work either.
"We wanted to divide operations from education, which is really important because a lot of educators had to do operations and couldn't focus on education," said Daley.
Daley said that once he names Huberman's replacement, that person would serve until the next mayor takes over. Daley has announced that he will not run for re-election in 2011.
One possibility being mentioned is Terry Mazany, head of the Chicago Community Trust.
A spokesperson for the Trust said Mazany is committed to his role at the trust, but he is willing to help if the mayor asks.
Daley has not mentioned any names yet.
The Chief Education Officer post has also been open, which is a reason why activists are asking for an organizational change.