May 25, 2011
The Chicago Board of Education today appointed Jean-Claude Brizard as chief executive officer of the Chicago Public Schools. His first official day will be Thursday, May 26th. Brizard will embark on a city-wide listening tour during his first few months as CEO, visiting schools to meet with teachers, principals, students and key stakeholders to gain first-hand knowledge of the challenges and issues facing Chicago’s schools.
Most recently, Brizard served as Superintendent of Schools for the Rochester City School District. He also worked as an educator and administrator with the New York City school system for 21 years, where he served as Executive Director for Secondary Schools, Region 8 Instructional Superintendent, and as a high school principal. Brizard began his career as a high school physics teacher and junior high school science teacher.
The Chicago Board of Education voted to appoint Brizard as CEO from May 26 thru June 30th at an annual salary level of $250,000, allowing him to begin his leadership role before a contract is approved by the incoming board in June. This measure allows the incoming board members, who will work closely with Brizard in the coming years, the opportunity to review and decide upon the terms of Brizard’s contract, expected to go into effect on July 1st. The approved salary is on par or less than those of CEOs and superintendents for large urban school districts including New York City, Los Angeles, Houston and Miami-Dade, among others, which range from $250,000-300,000 annually.
“I would like to thank Mayor Emanuel, the Board of Education and CPS staff for generously taking the time to assist me in preparing for this new role,” Brizard said. “I am eager to work from day one to ensure that every dollar we spend, every program that we support and every reform that we make, moves the district forward and benefits our kids.”
Brizard will visit a school nearly everyday until the end of the school year engaging directly with principals, teachers and students. It affords him the opportunity to learn first hand the challenges that schools face and to identify best practices. The school visits are part of a listening tour which aims to engage Chicagoans in a dialog about educational issues. Brizard will spend time in communities across the city, speaking with groups of students, principals, teachers, faith leaders and community organizations as he begins to formulate a plan of action.
“I look forward to listening to parents, teachers, students and community members about their experiences with our school system,” Brizard said. “They need to be a part of the dialogue as we begin to make a lot of difficult choices as a district to ensure that every dollar we invest counts and puts kids first.”
Under his tenure, Brizard aims to set a new tone for the nation’s third-largest school district focused on increasing student achievement. Among his priorities will be to ensure that teachers are supported professionally and that teacher performance is rewarded, empower principals to increase innovations within their schools while holding them accountable for results, and building the strong partnerships with parents that are critical to student success.
“As a community, we all have the same goal: to provide an education for our kids that prepares them for college, work and success throughout their lives,” Brizard added.
Brizard holds a Master's Degree in School Administration & Supervision from The City College of New York, a Master's Degree in Science Education from Queens College, and a Bachelor's Degree in Chemistry from Queens College.
Chicago Public Schools serves 409,279 students in 675 schools. It is the nation’s third-largest school district.