New Chicago Public Schools CEO named

Jean Claude-Brizard is shown with Mayor-elect Rahm Emanuel.
June 16, 2011 1:07:16 PM PDT
Mayor-elect Rahm Emanuel said his pick as head of Chicago Public Schools is ''an experienced educator and a proven manager.''

Jean-Claude Brizard, 47, served as the superintendent of public schools in Rochester, New York, for three years and worked as at teacher and administrator in New York City public schools for 20 years.

Emanuel made the announcement at Kelly High School on the city's Southwest Side Monday morning with Brizard, who goes by "J.C."

"J.C. is both an experienced educator and a proven manager," Emanuel said.

If approved by the Chicago Board of Education, Brizard will be the fourth consecutive Chicago Public Schools CEO without a PhD. His second in command, Dr. Noemi Donoso from Denver, has that doctorate degree. She takes on the role as the district's chief education officer.

Brizard earned a national reputation as an education reformer while running the Rochester school district, which has 38,000 students.

"In my opinion there is no greater calling than the field of education where we can change the lives and trajectories of young people," Brizard said. Brizard is a proponent of giving parents the choice of semi-private charter schools to replace failing public schools. Charter school advocate Phyllis Lockett said she looks forward to working with him.

"He is about the kids and is willing to make the tough decisions and put kids first," Lockett said.

The Rochester teachers' union gave Brizard a "no confidence" vote last year after he expanded the number of charter schools in that city and proposed cutting 900 jobs to balance the budget. Rochester Teachers' Union No Confidence Vote

"Those policies often don't work and I'm going to say they don't work from the point of view of teachers and the point of view of people who depend most on our schools, students and people in the communities," Jesse Sharkey, Chicago Teachers Union, said.

Brizard just signed a new contract with the Rochester school district two months ago. He reportedly resigned with a text message to the Rochester school board president Monday morning. Brizard Rochester Contract | Read Brizard's Resignation Letter

After Brizard read his first public statement in Chicago, he did not answer reporters' questions.

"I'll do the answering and it's OK and at the right time we'll make him available for questions," Emanuel said.

Brizard, the son of Haitian immigrants, will replace Ron Huberman, who resigned last year. Terry Mazany has served as interim schools chief since the end of November. Mazany was on loan to the city from his job as head of the Chicago Community Trust, a grant-making foundation.

Emanuel also announced a new leadership team for CPS.

"I wanted a fresh start, to hit the 'reset' button," Emanuel said of appointing a new education board, which he expects to be installed in May.

Brizard may be ready to come to Chicago but some in the school district he leaves behind feel slighted.

"It's an unfinished tenure, that much we can agree on," said Mayor Thomas Richards of Rochester.

"The next step right now is we must agree upon separation. When he leaves. How he leaves. All that is very important. Contracts mean something," said Malik Evans, New York school board president.

Brizard boasts of increasing Rochester's graduation rate 12 percent during his short tenure. But a closer look reveals only 51 percent of Rochester's high school students graduate within four years, dramatically fewer than Chicago's 69 percent.

Julie Woestehoff runs Parents United For Responsible Education, a parents' organization in Chicago, and has been talking to similar groups in Rochester.

"People in Rochester are happy to see him go. They were very unhappy with him as superintendent, but they're very sorry for us," said Woestehoff.

The Chicago Board of Education will have to approve Brizard.

    CPS Senior Leadership Team:
  • Jean-Claude Brizard, Chief Executive Officer
    Jean-Claude Brizard is Superintendent of Schools for the Rochester City School District. ?Under his leadership, the district's graduation rate increased and student scores in English Language Arts and Math improved. Prior to his time in Rochester, Brizard worked for 21 years as an educator and administrator with the New York City school system. As a New York City Regional Superintendent, Brizard supervised more than 100 K-12 schools serving over 100,000 students. Prior to holding that position, Brizard served as Executive Director for Secondary Schools, Region 8 Instructional Superintendent, and as a high school principal. He began his career in education as a high school physics teacher and junior high school science teacher. Brizard is a commercial pilot and a native of Haiti. He holds a Master's Degree in School Administration & Supervision from The City College of New York, a Master's Degree in Science Education from Queens College, and a Bachelor's Degree in Chemistry from Queens College.
  • Dr. Noemi Donoso, Chief Education Officer
    Dr. Noemi Donoso is Director of Denver Public Schools' Office of School Reform and Innovation. Previously, Dr. Donoso was Chief Academic Officer for the high-performing Camino Nuevo Charter Academy network. Dr. Donoso served as the founding principal of Camino Nuevo's first middle school. Previously, Dr. Donoso served as the turn-around principal of two K-8 charter schools in MacArthur Park, Los Angeles and East Harlem, New York. Prior to becoming a principal, Dr. Donoso taught high school English and Advanced Placement History for eight years at Foshay Learning South Los Angeles. Approximately 70% of her students went on to become the first in their family to attend four-year universities. Dr. Donoso holds a Ph.D. in Education Policy and Planning from the University of Southern California, a Master's from Rutgers University and a Bachelor's from Mount St. Mary's College.
  • Tim Cawley, Chief Operating Officer
    Tim Cawley is is currently Managing Director for Finance and Administration at the Academy for Urban School Leadership (AUSL). Cawley joined AUSL after a 30-year business career, holding senior management positions at Fortune 500 companies. Cawley has served as Senior Vice President of Global Logistics and Fulfillment for Motorola's Integrated Supply Chain, President of SBC/Ameritech Interational, and Chief Executive Officer for RevellMonogram. He began his career with Procter & Gamble, the world's largest consumer packaged-goods company.
  • Diana Ferguson, Chief Financial Officer
    Diana Ferguson is currently the Chief Financial Officer of Chicago Public Schools. Before becoming CFO, she served as Senior Vice President and Chief Financial Officer of The Folgers Coffee Company, Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer of Merisant Worldwide, Inc. and Chief Financial Officer of Sara Lee Foodservice, a division of Sara Lee. Ferguson holds a B.A. from Yale University and a Master's degree from Northwestern University.
  • Andrea Saenz, Chief of Staff
    Andrea S?enz currently serves as Special Assistant to the Assistant Secretary of Vocational and Adult Education in the United States Department of Education (USED). Previously, S?enz was executive director for the Hispanic Alliance for Career Enhancement, where she collaborated with Fortune 500 employers, universities and Chicago Public Schools to increase Latinos' access to professional and management careers. Prior to holding that position, she was a fellow at the University of Pennsylvania Fels Government Research Service, where she worked on data-driven performance management for Philadelphia public schools and the Philadelphia Workforce Development Corporation. S?enz began her career in non-profit leadership at Congreso de Latinos Unidos, where she led an initiative to open the first bilingual one-stop career center in Pennsylvania. She holds a Bachelor's degree in Latin American studies from Scripps College and a Master's degree in government administration from the University of Pennsylvania.
  • Becky Carroll, Chief Communications Officer
    Becky Carroll has directed communications policy for the City's Housing and Planning and Development Departments and the Mayor's Press Office. She managed the communications and community outreach strategy for the launch of Mayor's Daley's Five-Year Affordable Housing plan and served on the Cabrini Green/Near North Side Redevelopment Plan Task Force. In 2007, Carroll joined President Obama's campaign as National Director of Women for Obama, where she implemented a national outreach strategy to engage women voters. She spent the last two years in the private sector as Vice President of Communications and Community Affairs for the Chicago Fire Soccer Club. She is a graduate of the Chicago Public School system. Carroll holds a Bachelor's in Communications and Political Science from Loyola University.
  • Patrick Rocks, General Counsel
    Patrick Rocks is the current general counsel to the Chicago Public Schools. Previously, Rocks was First Assistant Corporation Counsel for the City of Chicago's Department of Law. Rocks earned a Bachelor's at Loyola University and graduated from John Marshall Law School.
  • Alicia Winckler, Chief Human Capital Officer
    Alicia Winckler is the current Chief Human Capital Officer of the Chicago Public Schools. Previously, she served as a senior human resource manager for several major corporations, including Sears Holdings, Inc. and Sears, Roebuck and Co. She holds a Bachelor's degree from the University of South Dakota and a Master's from the University of Colorado at Denver.
    Office of the Mayor
  • Elizabeth Swanson, Deputy Chief of Staff for Education
    Elizabeth Swanson is the Executive Director of The Pritzker Traubert Family Foundation, which invests in people and programs that enrich the life experiences of Chicago's children. Prior to joining the Foundation, Swanson led the Chicago Public Schools (CPS) Office of Management and Budget under CEO Arne Duncan. Swanson has also served as director of the CPS Office of Extended Learning Opportunities. Swanson has devoted her career to youth development and education reform, working for both local and federal government, as well as a number of non-profit organizations. She holds a Bachelor's from Amherst College and Master's in Public Policy from the University of Chicago. Swanson's two school-aged children attend CPS schools.
    Board of Education
  • David Vitale - Board of Education President
    David Vitale served as Chief Administrative Officer of Chicago Public Schools under CEO Arne Duncan. Before joining CPS, Vitale was Chief Executive Officer of the Chicago Board of Trade and Vice Chairman and Director of Bank One Corporation. Vitale currently serves as Chairman of the Academy for Urban School Leadership, a nonprofit teacher residency program, and as Executive Chair of Urban Partnership Bank. Vitale's daughter is a CPS student. He holds a Bachelor's from Harvard University and an MBA from the University of Chicago.
  • Jesse Ruiz - Board of Education Vice-President
    Jesse Ruiz is Chairman of the Illinois State Board of Education and a partner at the law firm of Drinker Biddle & Reath. Ruiz served as a Commissioner on the Chicago Public Schools Desegregation Monitoring Commission. He is chief legal counsel to the Illinois Legislative Latino Caucus and the Illinois Legislative Latino Caucus Foundation. In early 2011, Ruiz was appointed to the U.S. Department of Education's Equity and Excellence Commission, which will examine the impact of school finance on educational opportunity.
  • Henry Bienen - Board Member
    Henry Bienen served as President of Northwestern University from 1995 to 2009. Under his leadership, Northwestern grew its research output, academic standing, and facilities. Previously, Bienen served as Dean of the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs at Princeton University. Beinen has been a consultant to the U.S. Department of State. He received his Master's and Ph.D. from the University of Chicago and his Bachelor's from Cornell University.
  • Dr. Mahalia Hines - Board Member
    Dr. Mahalia Hines served as a principal in Chicago Public Schools for 17 years. Prior to that, she was a teacher in Chicago Public Schools for over 14 years. Dr. Hines works closely with the Common Ground Foundation, which empowers youth in urban neighborhoods, and continues to share her knowledge and experience as a mentor to new principals. She earned her doctorate in Curriculum and Instruction from the University of Illinois, where she focused on how to prepare teachers for urban education. She also holds a Master's degree from Northeastern University and a Bachelor's degree from Central State University.
  • Penny Pritzker - Board Member
    Penny Pritzker is a businesswoman and education advocate. She chairs the Chicago Public Education Fund which raises venture capital for high-impact investments in Chicago Public Schools. She also co-directs the Pritzker Traubert Family Foundation which supports programs for Chicago children in the areas of education, health and fitness, and arts and culture. Pritzker is Chairman of the Board of TransUnion, Chairman/CEO of Pritzker Realty Group as well as chair and co-founder of Vi (formerly Classic Residence by Hyatt), The Parking Spot and Artemis Real Estate Partners. She holds JD and MBA degrees from Stanford University and a Bachelor's degree in Economics from Harvard University.
  • Rod Sierra - Board Member
    Rod Sierra is Chief Marketing Officer of Johnson Publishing Company, which publishes Ebony and Jet magazines. Sierra has worked as a deputy press secretary to Mayor Daley and as Integrys Energy Group's Vice President for Public Affairs. Sierra is the parent of three CPS students.
  • Andrea Zopp - Board Member
    Andrea Zopp is president and CEO of the Chicago Urban League. She has been general counsel for several major corporations, including Sears Holdings Corporation and Exelon. Zopp also served as First Assistant State's Attorney for Cook County. Zopp has been a CPS parent since 1997. Four of her children have graduated from CPS schools. From 2002 to 2004, Zopp served on the Local School Council of Henry R. Clissold Elementary. She holds both a Bachelor's
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