Friends, colleagues remember Michael Scott

November 16, 2009 (CHICAGO) The Cook County Medical Examiner has ruled the death of the Chicago Public School board president a suicide but police are calling it simply a death investigation. His body was found on the banks of the Chicago River early Monday morning.

Many organizations can claim ties to Michael Scott.

In addition to serving on the Chicago Board of Education, he was on the board of the Park District, the RTA, the Center for Neighborhood Technology, and the Metropolitan Pier and Exposition Authority.

Those who knew him say he led a very productive life that he seemed to enjoy and are reeling from his death.

"I think it's a shock to everyone," said Mayor Daley on Monday.

A visibly shaken Mayor Daley is trying to process the unexpected death of Michael Scott, Daley's dear friend and political 'go-to guy' for more than 30-years.

Earlier this year, Scott returned to the Chicago Board of Education as its president at Daley's request.

"He didn't do it for publicity. He had the ears of the community at all times, worried about the entire city and the quality of education," said Daley.

Scott's long history with Chicago Public Schools began in 1980 when he was appointed to the board by then Mayor Jane Byrne. He gained a reputation for putting the needs of the students first and diffusing any conflicts between educators, administrators, and parents.

"Now that he's gone, the system is unstable because you have new leadership and a lot of people who don't know what's going on in the district," said Marilyn Stewart , Chicago Teachers Union.

"Michael Scott was a great leader of the Chicago Public School system. For both terms, he always put the interest of children first. CPS is better because of him," said Ron Huberman, CEO, Chicago Public Schools.

Michael Scott also worked for the late former Mayor Harold Washington in the office of special events instituting several festivals that are still in place today.

Jacky Grimshaw, who also worked with Washington, recalls Scott as a dynamic leader.

"Personable, a collaborator easy to get along with problem solver creative thinker," said Jacky Grimshaw, Center For Neighborhood Technology.

Scott suffered critical injuries just over 20 years ago when he was shot in the stomach while chasing off two robbers. He recovered and went on to serve on many boards while growing his real estate development company.

"He had a servant's heart he worked so hard on education and on many other issues. Gentle man, great guy and I think our whole state should be very sad today," said Quinn.

There is an ABC7 connection to the death of Michael Scott. Scott is married to our vice president of community affairs, Diana Palomar Scott. Our thoughts are with her and the Scott family during this difficult time.

There was a school board meeting scheduled for this Wednesday that has been cancelled. It's not know when an interim board president will be named.

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