CPS Names Interim Chief Education Officer

Marion Herbert's picture
Tuesday, May 1, 2012

A national education consultant who helped lead reform efforts in Detroit, Cleveland and New York City has been tapped as “interim” chief education officer in Chicago, officials said.

Barbara Byrd-Bennett will serve as “chief education advisor” until May 31, when she will take over as “interim’’ chief education officer for Noemi Donoso, officials said.

Byrd-Bennett’s role beyond serving as interim chief education officer is “unknown at this time,’’ Chicago Public Schools spokeswoman Robyn Ziegler said Monday.

However, Ziegler said, Schools CEO Jean-Claude Brizard talked to Byrd-Bennett about joining the Chicago team last week — before Donoso’s resignation was announced Friday evening.

In a news release Monday, Brizard said Byrd-Bennett “has the experience to step in on day one and provide the leadership required to support critical reform initiatives designed to drive student achievement.’’

He called Byrd-Bennett a “seasoned and respected leader with depth and expertise across a broad spectrum of education issues.’’

Byrd-Bennett served as CEO of Cleveland Public schools from 1998 to 2006, and as chief academic and accountability officer for Detroit Public Schools from 2009 to 2011. Detroit had the lowest reading scores among the big-city districts tested in 2011 on the nation’s report card, and Cleveland had the second-lowest scores.

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