School & District Management

Pittsburgh Superintendent Changes Looming

By Dakarai I. Aarons — October 06, 2010 2 min read
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Media reports in Pittsburgh and Chicago say the schools leaders in both cities could soon be packing their bags, but one of them says not to believe everything you read.

Pittsburgh Superintendent Mark Roosevelt announced his resignation in a press conference this afternoon and is likely leaving to take the helm of a liberal arts college, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette newspaper reports. He is leaving at the end of this calendar year.

Under Roosevelt, Pittsburgh successfully snagged one of the grants from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to improve teacher effectiveness.

Lesli Maxwell wrote in great detail about the district’s plans for the Gates funding in this space last fall. The district also worked closely with its union on a new contract that includes innovations in how its teachers are compensated.

The Pittsburgh board liked Roosevelt so much they had him resign last year so they could sign him to a new five-year contract. As we presciently noted for you at the time on District Dossier, contract extensions are no guarantee any school leader will stay.

Meanwhile, in the Windy City, the Chicago Sun-Times printed an exclusive this morning that said Ron Huberman, the school district’s chief executive, would be leaving before the year is over. His boss, Mayor Richard M. Daley, is not running for re-election after 21 years in the top city job and will leave office in May. Huberman’s been in the job less than two years—he replaced Arne Duncan when he left to become U.S. Secretary of Education.

Chicago Public Schools CEO Ron Huberman has told Mayor Daley he has no intention of serving another mayor and intends to leave his $230,000-a-year job long before the mayor leaves office in mid-May. Huberman's departure could mean Daley would have to turn over the nation's third-largest school system in the middle of the school year to a caretaker schools chief who would be replaced by yet another schools chief after a new mayor is seated.

Huberman, however, denied that his exit is imminent in a conversation with reporters this afternoon.

More on this via the Chicago Tribune:

While he said there is no way to know whether he will stay after the election, he said he remains committed to seeing through a handful of initiatives he's shepherded since joining the district in January 2009, including extending the school day using online courses. He also noted he was deeply involved in preparing the district's next budget.

No shortage of navel-gazing has already been accorded to new school leaders in two East Coast districts. Everyone (who has not been in a coma for the past month) knows that Michelle Rhee’s future has been in question since her boss, Mayor Adrian M. Fenty, lost his primary election last month, and she and Vincent Gray, the District of Columbia’s likely new mayor, have been mum on her future.

Rhee’s predecessor, Clifford Janey, is being shown the door by New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, who made a public point of announcing he would not renew Janey’s contract as Newark’s superintendent just weeks before the unveiling of a $100 million gift from Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg. Mayor Cory Booker is gaining more influence over the school district in the process.

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