N.Y.C. Leader Draws Aides From Diverse Professions

By Catherine Gewertz — September 04, 2002 2 min read

New York City Schools Chancellor Joel I. Klein has assembled a senior staff of leaders drawn from education, philanthropy, government, and the military to advise him.

Surrounded by his five new aides and Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg at an Aug. 28 news conference, Mr. Klein praised the talents of his team and pledged that they will take a disciplined approach aimed at delivering more money to the city’s classrooms.

Diana Lam is resigning as the superintendent of the Providence, R.I., schools to serve as Mr. Klein’s deputy chancellor for teaching and learning. Her post has been viewed as crucial, because Mr. Klein, a lawyer and former business executive, is not an educator.

Ms. Lam has led the 27,000-student Providence system since 1999. Before that, she ran the 58,000-student San Antonio schools for four years. In both districts, she drew praise for improving student performance and attracting financial support.

The other appointments announced last week were:

  • Marcelite Harris, who served in a number of leadership posts in the U.S. Air Force before retiring as a major general—and the highest-ranking female officer in that military service—will serve as Mr. Klein’s chief of staff.
  • Anthony E. Shorris, who had been serving as deputy chancellor for management and policy under former Chancellor Harold O. Levy, and also has a background in city financial management, agreed to stay on as deputy chancellor for operations and planning.
  • Kathleen Grimm, who most recently monitored New York’s fiscal condition as a deputy in the state comptroller’s office, was named deputy chancellor for finance and administration.
  • Michele Cahill, a senior program officer for education at the Carnegie Corporation of New York, will serve as senior counselor for education policy.

The announcement was the latest piece to fall into place in the changing governance structure of the 1.1 million-student system. Since June, when the state legislature shifted broad powers over the schools to the mayor’s office, Mayor Bloomberg has appointed Mr. Klein—a former chief of the U.S. Department of Justice’s antitrust division—and has named his seven appointees to the newly expanded, 13-member board of education. (“Former Justice Official to Head N.Y.C. Schools,” Aug. 7, 2002.)

“Mr. Klein has picked very bright and competent people,” said Colman Genn, the executive director of the Center for Educational Innovation-Public Education Association. “We have great hopes for the system.”

A version of this article appeared in the September 04, 2002 edition of Education Week as N.Y.C. Leader Draws Aides From Diverse Professions