A veteran superintendent who has led turnaround efforts in four large U.S. districts has started a new venture that he expects will broaden his reach.
The Vallas Group, headed by Paul Vallas, former head of the Chicago, Philadelphia and New Orleans Recovery districts and currently interim superintendent of the Bridgeport (Conn.) Public Schools, is partnering with Dallas-based Cambium Learning Group to bring his school improvement model to more schools in the nation. With experience on projects in Haiti and Chile, Vallas may even bring the model to other countries as well.
"I’m motivated to gravitate toward those school systems that are the most troubled because that’s where I believe I can have my greatest impact, do the greatest good,” Vallas says.
The Vallas Turnaround System, the official name of the reform model, includes not just improving academic performance but also stabilizing districts by balancing their budgets and reorganizing their administrations. “We are committed to affordable change,” Vallas says. “You will be amazed at the efficiencies and cost savings you can bring to a district.” In this regard, he cites the Bridgeport district, where he says it took about 90 days to “reconstitute” the central office, which now is about 40 percent smaller. Vallas says that this will allow “more resources to go to the schools.”