Choosing Chicago’s next schools CEO: Terry Mazany

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Catalyst Chicago asked readers to submit the names of people they
believe would be an excellent leader for the Chicago Public Schools. In
the coming weeks, we’ll post short profiles of those people. Also, share your views in our “Comments” section below. We start with Terry Mazany, current interim CEO of Chicago Public Schools.

Catalyst Chicago asked readers to submit the names of people they believe would be an excellent leader for the Chicago Public Schools. In the coming weeks, we’ll post short profiles of those people. Also, share your views in our “Comments” section below. We start with Terry Mazany, current interim CEO of Chicago Public Schools.

Terry Mazany, interim CEO

Experience: Mazany is on loan to CPS from his job as president and chief executive officer of The Chicago Community Trust, which has assets of $15 billion. As interim CEO, Mazany has been no placeholder. He convened work groups to draft an education plan to guide the next CEO. His focus is improving teaching and learning but he also will recommend that CPS close and consolidate under-enrolled schools and use the space to expand existing charter schools, instead of granting charters to new operators Mazany also has his staff working on a draft budget for next year.

Mazany was a school administrator in Michigan and California before coming to the Trust as the foundation’s senior education program officer. In that role, he led a $50 million program that focused on improving literacy instruction, professional development and alternative schools inside CPS. He has a master’s degree in anthropology and a master’s in business administration from the University of Arizona.

 

Why Mayor-elect Rahm Emanuel should choose him: He has struck a chord in the education community. In the first day of our survey, he received the most “votes” – 5 of 21. The respondents said Mazany is keyed into the many different stakeholders, including principals and teachers. One person wrote: “I like his thoughtful approach to public education … his honest way of talking about CPS problems … his collegial manner … his sensitivity to racial and ethnic issues. I like that he described CPS in free-fall after R. Huberman.” Another wrote: “Everything he has said so far about charter schools and standardized testing is exactly the direction that the narrative, the policy and the practical implementation need to go.”

How politics might affect his selection: Even some of the people who offered up Mazany as their choice doubt that Mayor-elect Rahm Emanuel will pick him. One pointed out that Mazany was not even named to Emanuel’s education transition team. Others tend to think that Emanuel will want to put his own stamp on CPS, perhaps by choosing an outsider, and not leave outgoing Mayor Richard M. Daley’s choice in place.