Chicago’s new schools CEO will be Jean-Claude Brizard, an education reformer who fought with the teachers’ union over performance pay as superintendent in Rochester, New York. A few months ago, 95 percent of teachers voted “no confidence” in his leadership.
Brizard “is not afraid of tough choices, and that is what Chicago’s students need today,” said (Mayor-elect Rahm) Emanuel, who has pledged longer school days and more accountability from teachers.
A Haitian immigrant, Brizard started as a physics teacher.
In his resignation letter to Rochester’s school board, Brizard touted what he said were his achievements while atop the 32,000-student district: Raising the graduation rate to 51 percent from 39 percent in three years; more than doubling the number of students enrolled in Advanced Placement classes; streamlining the district’s curriculum; decreasing suspensions by two-thirds since 2006; carving $51 million out of the budget through more efficient business practices; and launching a 10-year, $1.2 billion school modernization initiative.
Emanuel also announced seven new Board of Education members and a new executive team for the district, which Brizard helped select.