Posts tagged "inside baseball"
September 13, 2012
As the city prepares to release another edition of performance grades to more than 1,700 schools in the coming weeks, it will be doing so without the person who was behind the project last year.
Martin Kurzweil, a lawyer who most recently oversaw data-crunching for the Department of Education, exited this summer to take an academic fellowship at Columbia University Law School.
Kurzweil’s departure is part of a steady drip of directors and program leaders to have exited the department in recent months. This summer also saw the departures of Deputy Chancellor Laura Rodriguez; Rodriguez’s deputy in special education, Lauren Katzman; and public affairs director Lenny Speiller. In the spring and winter, the department lost its top lawyer and communications chief, as well as most of its press officers. Jessica Scaperotti, promoted in July to take over the newly consolidated External Affairs office, left in August.
“It’s a great loss,” said Clara Hemphill, senior editor of The New School’s Center for New York City Affairs, who worked with Kurzweil often when presenting school data on InsideSchools, the website she runs. “He’s a really smart, good guy who understood that there’s more to schools than numbers.” (more…)
July 19, 2012
Lenny Speiller, the education department’s head of public affairs whose stint was checkered by a lobbying incident that got him into trouble with city investigators, is making an unusual career move. He’s moving to Honduras to become a teacher.
Speiller’s exit is part of a restructuring within the Department of Education’s communication and legislative offices meant to improve how the DOE communicates with members of the public, Chief Operating Officer Veronica Conforme told staff in an email this week.
Speiller’s role in charge of public affairs was to work with elected officials and community-based organizations on DOE initiatives and to curry support for the department’s legislative goals. Under a four-office merger, public affairs will be folded into the External Affairs office. The other public-facing shops getting absorbed are: Communications, Digital Communications, and the Chancellor’s Strategic Communications Group (a spokeswoman said the last one helps Dennis Walcott read and respond to emails from the public).
Jessica Scaperotti, a former Cuomo and Bloomberg aide who joined the department in April, will over see the new streamlined office. Elizabeth Rose, a public affairs official, will temporarily fill in for Speiller while a permanent replacement is found.
In announcing Speiller’s departure to staff, Conforme didn’t offer much of a reflection on his two-and-a-half year tenure, which was filled with a busy legislative agenda. During his time, Speiller worked on the successful push to raise the state’s cap on charter schools and on the less-successful effort to reform teacher tenure laws.
But it was his work on the issue of seniority-based layoff laws that got him into trouble. (more…)
April 10, 2012
One of the Department of Education’s longest-serving top deputies is leaving — but he won’t be going far.
The city announced late Monday that Michael Best, the department’s chief lawyer since 2004, would return to City Hall, where he was a top deputy to Mayor Bloomberg at the beginning of the mayor’s tenure. Now, he will be counselor to the mayor, a position that is being vacated by the new pick for president of New York Law School.
Best’s replacement at the DOE, Courtenaye Jackson-Chase, has been at the department for more than half a decade. Chancellor Dennis Walcott promoted her to become Best’s second in command last May during a slew of leadership appointments a month into his tenure.
According to the city’s press release, Best and Jackson-Chase worked together on efforts to close the “rubber room” for teachers who were removed from the classroom after being accused of misconduct and to streamline disciplinary hearings for department employees.
State officials have cited the city’s teacher discipline timeline as a model as they work to shorten hearings in other districts. But news reports in recent weeks have suggested that the process has not been perfected and that the city has assigned several teachers to desk duty after courts ruled that the teachers could not be fired even though they were found guilty of misconduct. (more…)
January 31, 2012
The Department of Education’s press office will be getting a new director in less than two weeks.
Natalie Ravitz, the department’s communications director since June 2010, is leaving to become chief of staff to Rupert Murdoch, the CEO of News Corporation. Her last day at the department will be Feb. 10.
Ravitz is following a well-worn path from the department to NewsCorp: Ex-schools chief Joel Klein, who was chancellor when Ravitz was hired, now heads the company’s growing education division. Last summer, Klein picked Kristen Kane, the department’s former chief operating officer, to become the division’s COO. He also acquired Wireless Generation, the technology company that developed and managed ARIS, the city’s school data warehouse.
After years in political communications, Ravitz arrived at the department during the summer of 2010 and shepherded its press operations through two abrupt changes in departmental leadership. She succeeded David Cantor, who held the job for longer than any of his predecessors before leaving for the private sector. (more…)
November 8, 2011
Now, new details tucked into a New York Magazine profile of Rupert Murdoch’s daughter Elisabeth seem to confirm that Bloomberg set the timeline for Klein’s departure — and suggest that Klein’s decision to head to Murdoch’s News Corporation was hastily made.
From the article:
On Sunday morning, November 7, 2010, Michael Bloomberg called Klein and told him that he would be announcing that Klein was resigning that week. Klein and the mayor had been discussing Klein’s departure from Tweed Courthouse for months—but Klein was still taken aback at the timing of the decision. He had been in informal talks with several Wall Street firms, but nothing had materialized. Without a job lined up, he “panicked,” according to a person familiar with the matter. So Klein called Rupert. (more…)
October 5, 2011
The city Department of Education is losing its top operations official and gaining a chief information officer in the latest spate of leadership changes announced today.
In keeping with a hiring freeze that Mayor Bloomberg has imposed on all city agencies, the department is filling all of the open positions with people who are already on its payroll.
Sharon Greenberger, who became the DOE’s chief operating officer in 2010 after heading the School Construction Authority for four years, is leaving to become a senior vice president at New York-Presbyterian Hospital. She’s being replaced by the department’s chief financial officer, Veronica Conforme, who has worked at the DOE since 2003, and another DOE official is moving up to fill Conforme’s role.
Greenberger is the first top deputy to resign since Dennis Walcott became chancellor six months ago. Several top officials, including Conforme’s predecessor in the department’s financial operations, left during the tumultuous months between ex-Chancellor Joel Klein’s resignation last November and the resignation of his successor, Cathie Black, in April.
The department also announced that it has filled the chief information officer position that had been open since March. (more…)
May 11, 2011
A month after taking over a Department of Education hemorrhaging its leadership, Chancellor Dennis Walcott today announced a slew of high-level appointments.
For two deputy chancellor slots, Walcott turned to veteran educators who made their careers in the city schools.
David Weiner, a one-time city principal who is currently Philadelphia’s chief accountability officer, will become deputy chancellor for talent, labor, and innovation. In that position, he will manage hot-button issues including labor relations and the city’s Innovation Zone of schools experimenting with technology. The founding principal of PS 503 in Brooklyn, Weiner succeeds John White, who took over the Recovery School District in New Orleans at the beginning of May.
A 30-year veteran of the city school system, Dorita Gibson will take on a newly created position, deputy chancellor for equity and access. She will supervise District 79, the network of alternative schools previously headed by Cami Anderson, who was named Newark’s next schools chief last week. District 79 will still get a new superintendent, according to DOE spokeswoman Natalie Ravitz.
Gibson will also lead initiatives that “focus on ending long-standing racial, ethnic and socioeconomic disparities and directing supports to communities most in need,” according to the city’s press release. Some of those initiatives previously fell under the purview of Santiago Taveras, the deputy chancellor for engagement who departed for the private sector earlier this year.
The appointments signal that Walcott is moving to stabilize the department, which has experienced rapid leadership change at the top since ex-Chancellor Joel Klein left at the end of last year. They also confirm Walcott’s intention to continue policies established during Klein’s tenure while also asserting new priorities. (more…)
April 4, 2011
The city’s first-ever community engagement czar is the latest in a string of high-level departures from the Department of Education since the departure of Chancellor Joel Klein.
Santiago Taveras, deputy chancellor for community engagement, is leaving the department to become a vice president at Cambridge Education, the consulting firm that originally conducted quality reviews in city schools. Taveras is the third member of the chancellor’s leadership team to resign since Cathie Black replaced Klein in November.
Taveras, who worked for the city schools for 22 years, was deputy chancellor for teaching and learning from May 2009 until April 2010, when the DOE eliminated its teaching and learning division. He then became the city’s first community engagement chief, managing the way the department explained proposals for policy changes, such as school closures, to the public. In recent months, he had become the voice of the department at public meetings, sometimes staying long after other officials to take questions and speak with parents and school leaders.
A former principal, Taveras was one of the aides Eric Nadelstern name-checked as someone trained to pick up the slack after the former chief schools officer resigned in January. In addition to Nadelstern, whose position was eliminated after he left, the department also replaced finance director Photeine Anagnastopoulos, who quit the day after Klein announced his departure. The department is looking for a replacement for Taveras, according to the city’s press release.
Here’s the city’s press release: (more…)
January 21, 2011
Following the retirement of Deputy Chancellor Eric Nadelstern, the Department of Education is combining the office in charge of helping schools improve with the office that holds their feet to the fire.
The Division of School Support and Instruction, which Nadelstern oversaw, will merge with the Division of Performance and Accountability, to create the Division of Academics, Performance and Support. Chief Academic Officer Shael Polakow-Suransky will oversee the combined divisions, a move that frees the department from having to replace Nadelstern and effectively doubles the range of issues that Polakow-Suransky is responsible for.
This is the second reorganization affecting the Division of School Support and Instruction in less than in a year.
Last April, the city folded the teaching and learning office into the school support office under Nadelstern. As a result of the move, Deputy Chancellor Santiago Taveras became the first-ever community engagement czar. He now manages how the department publicly presents proposals that are set to come before the city school board, known as the Panel for Educational Policy.
September 27, 2010
Newark Mayor Cory Booker had just the person in mind to fix his city’s public schools, but that candidate — a top-ranking New York education official — turned the job down.
John King, the newly appointed second in command of New York State’s Education Department, is that New Yorker. Two sources confirm that King was offered the job of Newark schools superintendent, which would have put him in charge of 40,000 students and a recent $100 million gift from Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg.
New Jersey State Department of Education officials decided not to renew the contract of the city’s current superintendent, Clifford Janey, back in August.
King joined SED a year ago and helped the department was prepare its application for Race to the Top, a federal grant competition that the state won last month. Now with $696 million to spend on improvements to New York’s schools, King is choosing to stick around and see the plan through.
“John King has no comment on the Newark superintendency,” said SED spokesman Tom Dunn. “He is fully engaged in implementing New York State’s Race to the Top plan.”
Other education leaders in New York have been approached about the job. Newark’s Star Ledger has reported that New York City deputy chancellor John White and former deputy schools chancellor Christopher Cerf are both under consideration.