Just after midnight, Jean-Claude Brizard sent out a statement, confirming that he will leave the helm of Chicago Public Schools. He said he does so with “great sadness.”
Brizard’s departure was the subject of much speculation for several months. That speculation reached a fever pitch in late August when The Chicago Tribune reported that Emanuel was preparing to usher Brizard out. Emanuel denied the report and pledged his support of Brizard.
During the teacher’s strike that followed, Brizard was absent from negotiations. And one bizarre day, his resignation was announced at a rally, spurring Brizard to send out an e-mail, declaring that he was still on the job.
Problems inside Brizard’s administration were evident as several high-level hires left during his short tenure. However, some wonder how Emanuel, who seemed to be sending marching orders to Brizard, could blame him for the district’s failings.
Brizard reportedly will be replaced by Barbara Byrd-Bennett, former schools leader from Cleveland who is currently the interim Chief Education Officer.
Below is the statement released by Brizard:
“In my 26 year career in education, I have had many different roles with one commitment — the success of students.
As an educator, I knew for students to be successful here in Chicago we needed to refocus the District to work on the fundamentals of teaching and learning, developing a new framework for teaching. Some have called it a masterpiece. The credit belongs to my hard-working team including many teachers and principals who contributed to the work.
As the district leader, I am proud of the results we achieved in such a short time: graduation rates are up, test scores are improving, a higher percentage of freshman are on track for graduation, we achieved the lowest one-year drop-out rate in the city’s history and we have seen tremendous growth on the ACT – an important college readiness benchmark.
As I move on to the next chapter of my career, my commitment to the success of students and the elimination of inequities within our educational system remains the same.
I have three young children. It is time to focus on their development. We all know the best gift that you can give to a child is time.
I leave this role with great sadness, but with the knowledge that the seeds for true innovation and transformation have been planted. They only need to be cultivated.”