Bridgeport school superintendent Paul Vallas wowed some in the education community when he passed a sweeping five-year plan to fix Connecticut's worst school district after being on the job for only three months.
But a court decision that will shake up the state-appointed school board that helped him quickly realize his vision could present Mr. Vallas—who rose to fame in education circles after leading districts in Chicago, Philadelphia and New Orleans—with even greater challenges this fall.
Some supporters of Mr. Vallas are worried that September's special election could bring in less cooperative board members, returning the gridlock that has tied up Bridgeport's schools for years. "We were sort of standing around when Rome was burning," said Bridgeport Mayor Bill Finch. "There is a chance of slipping back."
National advocates for changing the way education systems are run will also be watching, since they have looked to Mr. Vallas's results as a possible model for other small, economically struggling school districts.