January 22, 2003 1 min read
  • Save to favorites
  • Print

Jacked Up

To help in his efforts to build a better breed of principals, New York City Schools Chancellor Joel I. Klein has tapped former corporate chairman and CEO John F. Welch Jr., who often credits his legendary transformation of General Electric to his work in honing the talent of his managers.

Mr. Klein last week named Mr. Welch to chair the advisory panel to the chancellor’s new Leadership Academy, which will coordinate the way principals are recruited and trained in the 1.1 million-student system.

During his 20 years at the helm of GE, Mr. Welch pursued a similar strategy of leadership development by re-creating the company’s Ossining, N.Y.-based training center, known as Crotonville. Prospective GE managers, as well as experienced executives, come to Crotonville for weeks-long sessions that focus on business problems.

High staff turnover at GE earned Mr. Welch the moniker “Neutron Jack,” for the bomb that eliminates people but leaves buildings standing. He’s known for leading GE through a period of enormous revenue growth at a time when many American businesses were struggling with mounting global competition. He retired in 2001 and last year was forced to relinquish most of the generous retirement package approved by GE’s board, amid questions about the oversight of GE and other major companies.

In an interview last week on CNN’s “NewsNight with Aaron Brown,” Mr. Welch said he recognized the challenges principals face, including a multitude of administrative duties and “in some cases, teachers that are recalcitrant.”

“It’s a big swing,” he said of the new leadership academy. “Everyone knows how hard it is. Why not take a shot at it?”

Mr. Klein also has named Richard D. Parsons, the chief executive officer of AOL Time Warner, to the advisory board led by Mr. Welch. The academy’s full-time CEO will be Bob Knowling, a business consultant and former telecommunications-company executive.

Serving as academic dean will be Sandra Stein, who has run a program that trains aspiring principals at Baruch College in Manhattan. And rounding out the list of heavy-hitters involved in the project is Anthony J. Alvarado, a former New York City schools chief who will sit on the advisory panel. Mr. Alvarado’s contract with the San Diego schools, where he serves as chancellor of instruction, is being renegotiated.

—Jeff Archer


Classroom Technology Webinar Building Better Blended Learning in K-12 Schools
The pandemic and the increasing use of technology in K-12 education it prompted has added renewed energy to the blended learning movement as most students are now learning in school buildings (and will likely continue

EdWeek Top School Jobs

Teacher Jobs
Search over ten thousand teaching jobs nationwide — elementary, middle, high school and more.
View Jobs
Principal Jobs
Find hundreds of jobs for principals, assistant principals, and other school leadership roles.
View Jobs
Administrator Jobs
Over a thousand district-level jobs: superintendents, directors, more.
View Jobs
Support Staff Jobs
Search thousands of jobs, from paraprofessionals to counselors and more.
View Jobs

Read Next

Education Briefly Stated: November 17, 2021
Here's a look at some recent Education Week articles you may have missed.
8 min read
Education Nearly a Million Kids Vaccinated in Week 1, White House Says
Experts say there are signs that it will be difficult to sustain the initial momentum.
4 min read
Leo Hahn, 11, gets the first shot of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine, Tuesday, Nov. 9, 2021, at the University of Washington Medical Center in Seattle. Last week, U.S. health officials gave the final signoff to Pfizer's kid-size COVID-19 shot, a milestone that opened a major expansion of the nation's vaccination campaign to children as young as 5. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)
Education How Schools Are Getting Kids the COVID Shot, and Why Some Aren’t
Some district leaders say offering vaccine clinics, with the involvement of trusted school staff, is key to helping overcome hesitancy.
5 min read
A girl walks outside of a mobile vaccine unit after getting the first dose of her COVID-19 vaccine, outside P.S. 277, Friday, Nov. 5, 2021, in the Bronx borough of New York. (AP Photo/Eduardo Munoz Alvarez)
Education Biden Administration Urges Schools to Provide COVID-19 Shots, Information for Kids
The Biden administration is encouraging local school districts to host vaccine clinics for kids and information on benefits of the shots.
2 min read
President Joe Biden, and first lady Jill Biden walk to board Marine One on the South Lawn of the White House in Washington, Saturday, Nov. 6, 2021. Biden is spending the weekend at his home in Rehoboth Beach, Del. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)