Newark Deputy Mayor Expected to Be Named Connecticut Education Chief

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Stefan Pryor, a deputy mayor in Newark who was a founder of a well-known New Haven charter school, is expected to become Connecticut?s education commissioner.

At its regular meeting on Wednesday, the State Board of Education will recommend to Gov. Dannel P. Malloy that Mr. Pryor be named commissioner, said Mark Linabury, an Education Department spokesman.

Mr. Pryor, 39, has been one of Mayor Cory A. Booker?s closest aides, overseeing Newark?s economic development efforts since 2006. Before that, he was president of the Lower Manhattan Development Corporation following the Sept. 11 terror attacks.

He is widely seen as an ambitious and skilled consensus-builder with a deep interest in education. He was a co-founder of Amistad Academy, a New Haven charter school that has become a model for schools in other cities.

He has longstanding ties to Connecticut, where he attended Yale University and Yale Law School in the 1990s. He was elected to the New Haven Board of Aldermen, and worked in the mid-1990s as a policy analyst on youth and education issues for Mayor John DeStefano Jr. of New Haven.

Mr. DeStefano said Tuesday that Mr. Pryor was an effective leader because he took a persistent, fact-based approach to issues, adding that ?he is not one to default to preconceived notions.?

?In an ideologically charged environment such as public education, a collaborative approach will serve us well,? the mayor said.

Kathryn S. Wylde, the president and chief executive of the Partnership for New York City, said Mr. Pryor worked with Brooklyn schools for her group from 1998 to 2001; she said he successfully persuaded school officials, unions and parents to adopt controversial practices like data-driven management and accountability standards.

?He has been eager to get back to education,? Ms. Wylde said. ?He is a highly focused, very intense person who is into the substance of the issues. He communicates effectively and he has great patience for diversity of opinions.?

Mr. Pryor did not respond to a request for an interview. If appointed, he would succeed George A. Coleman, who has been acting commissioner since January. Connecticut education officials said further details about Mr. Pryor?s appointment would not be available until after the meeting on Wednesday.

Read more »

57 994