New CPS leader Brizard outlines priorities, addresses union controversy

May 4, 2011

Produced by Eight Forty-Eight

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(Photo courtesy of the Rochester City School District)
Jean-Claude Brizard was recently named CEO of Chicago Public Schools by Mayor-elect Rahm Emanuel.

In the time since Jean-Claude Brizard was named CEO of Chicago Public Schools, he’s gotten a mixed welcome.

Brizard has faced questions about his accomplishments while Superintendent of the City School District in Rochester, New York. He’s also been faulted for not developing good relationships with educators and the community.

When asked what he could have done differently during the time he ran the schools in Rochester, Brizard singled out his contentious relationship with the teachers union president there.

"It really was an eye-opening experience for me to see a relationship with one person begin to deteriorate, and then you being labeled and painted as someone, which is completely the opposite of who you are as an individual," he said.

The teachers union recently delivered a no-confidence vote in Brizard.

To prepare for his new position in Chicago, Brizard says he's doing research to understand the challenges facing the district. He told WBEZ Wednesday that some of his priorities are lengthening the school day, and instituting a system in which teachers are paid based on their performance.

"But if you were to be able to boil it down to one massive goal, it really is about making sure kids are graduating from high school, prepared for what comes after high school, and of course persisting wherever they go after high school," Brizard told Eight Forty-Eight host Alison Cuddy.

Listen to his complete interview with Cuddy above.
 

And listen below to hear Jean-Claude Brizard explain more about his background in education, including his time at The Broad Superintendents Academy.

Federico Aubele, "Kreuzberg", from the CD Berlin 13, (ESL)