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After Strike Turmoil, Chicago CEO Resigns

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Mayor Rahm Emanuel's efforts to improve Chicago's schools face yet more upheaval after his hand-picked chief executive officer, Jean-Claude Brizard, resigned Oct. 11, three weeks after the end of the city's first teacher's strike in a quarter century.

The next day, Mr. Emanuel introduced Mr. Brizard's replacement, Barbara Byrd-Bennett, a former administrator from Cleveland who had been filling in as Chicago's interim chief education officer and played a more visible role than did Mr. Brizard in the teacher contract negotiations last month.

Both Mr. Emanuel and Mr. Brizard, who had only been on the job 17 months, said the decision was mutual and arose after questions about the CEO's management became a distraction to the mayor's ambitious school reform goals.

Stephanie Gadlin, a spokeswoman for the Chicago Teachers Union, described the departure as "shocking," saying it will bring more "chaos" to the 400,000-student district.

Talk of Mr. Brizard's possible departure had been circulating for several weeks.

While Mr. Brizard got high marks on his education expertise and understanding policy, he has been criticized for his management style, including the way he communicates.

Vol. 32, Issue 08, Page 4

Published in Print: October 17, 2012, as After Strike Turmoil, Chicago CEO Resigns
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