Chicago Likely to Lose Schools CEO This Week

January 19, 2009

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This week could be Arne Duncan's last as head of the Chicago Public Schools. Duncan is awaiting Senate confirmation to lead the U.S. Department of Education. That will leave Chicago without a schools chief. And there's just one person in town who can fix that.

Board president Rufus Williams addressed Arne Duncan's departure in a speech before Chicago business and civic leaders last week.

WILLIAMS: If you're wondering what's next for the Chicago Public Schools, then you and I have at least that in common.

The Mayor was given the power to appoint the superintendent under legislation passed in 1995.

In an interview Williams said board members have Mayor Richard Daley's ear, but they're not calling the shots.

WILLIAMS: We all understand how Chicago works.

Many inside CPS hope Daley picks the district's #2 in command—Barbara Eason-Watkins, a former teacher and principal.

But since taking over the district, Daley has appointed two non-educators to the post—Paul Vallas and Arne Duncan.