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Superintendent J. Michael Brandt of the Cincinnati public schools has announced his decision to retire.

Mr. Brandt took over a troubled 49,000-student system in 1991 that was suffering from failing levies, a lack of funding for its classrooms, and what many saw as a bloated and inefficient central office.

J. Michael Brandt

He initiated several big changes, including a reduction of 50 percent in the central administration; the establishment of a pilot Mini District to test new ideas and practices; and the implementation of a pay-for-performance plan for administrators.

Mr. Brandt, 51, will remain with the district until next July, when his contract expires. He has not yet announced his future plans... San Francisco Unified School District Superintendent Waldemar Rojas has been elected to serve as chair of the board of directors of the Council of the Great City Schools, a Washington-based coalition representing the nation's 50 largest urban public school districts.

Mr. Rojas succeeds Toledo, Ohio, public schools board member Wilma Brown, who was recently elected to the Toledo city council.

Jondel "JD" Hoye, the director of the National School-to-Work Office, a joint initiative of the federal departments of Education and Labor, will step down when her contract ends in February.


Ms. Hoye has led the Washington-based office, which is responsible for providing support for state and local efforts to foster school-to-work systems, since 1994.

"I feel a strong foundation is now in place that will allow the kind of national system change to take place as envisioned by President Clinton when signing the National School-to-Work Opportunities Act in 1994," Ms. Hoye said in a statement last month.

She said she had "decided to begin to pursue other endeavors ... which will allow me to further the goals and ideals of school-to-work," but did not give any specifics on her plans for the future.

--ADRIENNE D. COLES [email protected]

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