New York City schools got a shakeup at the top as Schools Chancellor Joel Klein is out and Cathleen Black, who most recently served as chair of Hearst Magazines, is in.
Mayor Michael Bloomberg, speaking from City Hall on Tuesday afternoon, November 9, made the announcement praising Klein for the tremendous gains he has helped spearhead in the city’s school system during his tenure.
“Joel Klein’s extraordinary service to the 1.1 million children and young adults who attend our public schools has secured him a place as a landmark, transformational civic leader in our city’s long history – but for some time now, I’ve known that he was ready to move on,” Bloomberg said on Tuesday.
During the announcement, Bloomberg spoke about how since 2002, Klein has led the transformation of New York City’s long-dysfunctional public school system into one that the Obama administration has hailed as a national model. Bloomberg pointed to higher graduation rates, a narrowed achievement gap between black and Hispanic students and their white and Asian peers, significant progress on National Assessment of Educational Progress test results and lower crime as some of his key achievements.
For his part, Klein harkened back to personal memories of being a student in third grade in Astoria to having the privilege of running the city’s school system – a job he called the best one he has ever held.
“It really is quite simply extraordinary,” said Klein, who will leave the position after serving longer than any other city Schools Chancellor. “The greatest school reform in the country during the past eight years happened right here.”
Bloomberg said that he chose Black, who in her most recent position as Chair of Hearst Magazines led a team of some 2,000 employees producing more than 200 local editions of 14 magazines in more than 100 countries, for her managerial experience and called “her brilliant, innovative and passionate.”
“I am truly honored to be asked by the Mayor to fill this critical and important role,” said Black, who vowed to rely on the top leaders currently in place at the Department of Education to help her learn the ropes at her new job.
The first question posed to Bloomberg was why he did not select someone with an education background – an issue that has been a bone of contention during periods of Klein’s tenure.
Bloomberg said he chose Black because she is a “world-class manager” and someone uniquely qualified to address one of the most critical issues – preparing the city’s youngsters to get jobs.
Klein, who is taking a job as an Executive Vice President at News Corp, will remain in his position through the end of the year and help Black with her transition.