Mayor announces new CPS chief at South Loop Elementary

Barbara Byrd-Bennett, former Cleveland and Detroit head honcho, takes over immediately

10/12/2012 5:20 PM

By Ben Meyerson

4 Comments - Add Your Comment

After a tumultuous 17 months at the helm of Chicago education, Jean-Claude Brizard is out, and Mayor Rahm Emanuel has picked the former head of Cleveland’s public schools to run Chicago Public Schools.

Barbara Byrd-Bennett, who’s also been a superintendent in New York City and ran Detroit’s public schools, is CPS’s new chief. Emanuel made the formal announcement Friday morning at South Loop Elementary in Dearborn Park.

Byrd-Bennett has been with CPS since this spring, when she took over a leadership role as the district’s interim chief education officer. She allegedly took a prominent role in negotiating the recent teachers’ contract.

In his press conference at South Loop Elementary, Emanuel said Byrd-Bennett didn’t have to step in and take this job with such a rich career behind her.

“Having been a teacher, a principal and an administrator in three other systems, she could have hung up her jersey — but she decided to put it back on,” Emanuel said. “She understands as CEO she’s building a team, and she knows how to work at all levels to achieve that.”

In introducing Byrd-Bennett, he wished Brizard well. They both agreed that his presence had become a distraction from the mission of bettering education in the city, Emanuel said.

“When I talked to JC as recently as this morning, I said ‘You have a lot to be proud of,’” Emanuel said. “I told him, ‘Not only have you done a great job, but you should hold your head up high. I will continue to support you as you work to help children succeed.’”

He already has a nickname for Byrd-Bennett, though: “B-Three.”

“I’m proud to welcome Barbara Byrd-Bennett, known to all of us as B-Three,” he said. “It took us a while — I thought it was a vitamin we had to take at first.”

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By enariepay
Posted: 12/23/2012 6:27 AM

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By claudeah from united center
Posted: 10/15/2012 10:55 PM

So triple B ran Detroit Public Schools and that is something of which to be proud? If anything that would be a reason not to hire her. That school system is so messed up it is pathetic. Good one Rahm.

By Another SL Parent from South Loop
Posted: 10/15/2012 4:25 PM

Ooooh nice. Now that you put it in such black and white terms, I see it very clearly now. Never thought about it like that.

By West loop realist from West Loop
Posted: 10/14/2012 11:47 AM

I had an open mind on her until I heard her interview this morning on Fox. She uses the same old woe are the poor blacks because of resources in the black schools on the west and south side. She like Emanuel and Obama is a classic redistributionist. She and Emanuel pander to the black community telling them its not their fault--its the white man's fault. It would be great if she would bring up the subject of paretal responsibility but that will never happen. Its easier to blame others.