Find your next job fast at the Jan. 28 Virtual Career Fair. Register now.
Education

Paul Vallas Goes Back to School

By Jaclyn Zubrzycki — April 18, 2013 2 min read

UPDATED

Paul Vallas, the superintendent in Bridgeport, Conn., and former leader of Louisiana’s Recovery School District, and the Philadelphia and Chicago public school systems, headed back to school this spring. Kind of.

Despite his experience as superintendent in a number of the country’s largest school districts, Vallas is not certified to be a superintendent in Connecticut. And so, after the school board voted last month to keep Vallas on board as a full superintendent with a three-year contract, a lawyer who has successfully contested other education policy changes in Connecticut filed a lawsuit saying that having an uncertified superintendent was detrimental to the city’s children, ctpost.com reports.

Now Vallas has started an independent study in leadership at the University of Connecticut’s Neag School of Education in order to earn his certificate. Here’s a glance at the course of study Vallas will undertake at Neag. The program is tailored to Vallas’ previous experience. He’ll be focusing on six standards: Teaching and Learning; Vision, Mission, and Goals; Managing Organizational and Systems Safety; Collaborating with Families and Stakeholders; Ethics and Integrity; and The Education System.

BUT, until just this week, that program hadn’t been certified by the state. Connecticut’s state board of education approved Vallas’s course of study on Monday.

Vallas was hired to be interim superintendent of the Bridgeport district in December, 2011. A state law passed last summer allowed an uncertified candidate to become superintendent on a probationary period, as long as that person completed an educational leadership program. That law has not been used in any other district in the state, as far as I can tell.

Vallas’ tenure in Bridgeport and the state-level actions that have been taken to keep him there have been (predictably) polarizing: Some say he is shaking up a system desperately in need of a change, and others say the changes have been too much too fast and fear that he will ultimately open the district to charter schools and privatization. (Nola.com reported on some of this controversy.)

Vallas has helped reduce a dramatic budget deficit in the district. It’s too soon to tell whether students’ test scores have improved since he has been in charge, but the city’s schools were in dire shape academically before he came on board.

The governance of the entire school system in Bridgeport has been the subject of a battle for control in recent years. The locally elected school board was dismantled and replaced by a state-appointed board in a move that was later deemed unconstitutional. Vallas was hired by the state-appointed board, but the board that voted 5-4 to keep him on is a reconstituted elected school board, according to the Hartford Courant.

Related Tags:

A version of this news article first appeared in the District Dossier blog.

Events

This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
School & District Management Webinar
Branding Matters. Learn From the Pros Why and How
Learn directly from the pros why K-12 branding and marketing matters, and how to do it effectively.
Content provided by EdWeek Top School Jobs
This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
School & District Management Webinar
How to Make Learning More Interactive From Anywhere
Join experts from Samsung and Boxlight to learn how to make learning more interactive from anywhere.
Content provided by Samsung
Teaching Live Online Discussion A Seat at the Table With Education Week: How Educators Can Respond to a Post-Truth Era
How do educators break through the noise of disinformation to teach lessons grounded in objective truth? Join to find out.

EdWeek Top School Jobs

Human Resources Manager
Madison, Wisconsin
One City Schools
Elementary Teacher - Scholars Academy
Madison, Wisconsin
One City Schools
Special Education Teacher
Chicago, Illinois
JCFS Chicago
Communications Officer
Chattanooga, Tennessee
Hamilton County Department of Education

Read Next

Education Briefly Stated Briefly Stated: January 13, 2021
Here's a look at some recent Education Week articles you may have missed.
8 min read
Education Obituary In Memory of Michele Molnar, EdWeek Market Brief Writer and Editor
EdWeek Market Brief Associate Editor Michele Molnar, who was instrumental in launching the publication, succumbed to cancer.
5 min read
Education Briefly Stated Briefly Stated: December 9, 2020
Here's a look at some recent Education Week articles you may have missed.
8 min read
Education Briefly Stated Briefly Stated: Stories You May Have Missed
A collection of articles from the previous week that you may have missed.
8 min read