Wanted: Chicago Public Schools CEO

December 17, 2008

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The rumors are already swirling about who might replace Chicago Public Schools CEO Arne Duncan, who's heading to Washington as part of President elect Barack Obama's cabinet. Barbara Eason-Watkins is being mentioned as a possible successor.

Eason-Watkins is CPS's chief education officer, the district's number two official. She and Duncan have worked as a team since 2001.

Duncan credited Eason-Watkins yesterday when he accepted the nomination for U.S. Secretary of Education, but CPS officials are not saying yet who'll be named.

Chicago Teachers Union president Marilyn Stewart said the district should choose a teacher or former teacher.

STEWART: I would appreciate someone with classroom experience.

Chicago education advocates are also beginning to speculate about what Duncan's appointment will mean for schools here.

Charter school consultant John Ayers described Duncan as...

AYERS: somebody who will really fight for urban kids, and urban kids are the ones who've been shortchanged for so long.