Jean-Claude Brizard, former Superintendent of Schools for the Rochester City School District, was named the new Chicago Public Schools CEO.
Is Jean-Claude Brizard taking French leave from the Rochester School District?
According to today’s Rochester Democrat and Chronicle, Brizard recently signed a contract that requires his departure from the district “must be mutually agreed upon.”
But, the paper reported, school board members had not been able to reach Brizard for several days before Monday’s announcement that he was stepping down to lead Chicago Public Schools. And, NBCChicago has learned, Brizard informed them of his new job by sending a text message.
Last week, as rumors built that Brizard was leaving, Rochester School Board President said it was “premature” to discuss whether Brizard would be held to his contract.
But after Monday’s press conference with Emanuel, “Evans said the board planned to meet in executive session to discuss its legal options regarding his contract and then hold a press conference.”
Apparently, the board wants to keep Brizard. Evans referred to his contract as “a covenant with the Sunday.” On Sunday, school board members published an Op-Ed in the Democrat and Chronicle, urging him to stay in Rochester.
“During Jean-Claude’s tenure, the district has increased the graduation rate by an unprecedented 12 percentage points in just three years, decreased the number of students who were unnecessarily being placed in special education classes, dramatically decreased its suspension rate without seeing a corresponding increase in in-school violence, and presented three straight balanced budgets to City Council,” they wrote.
Brizard assured the school board he was committed to Rochester, but that commitment began to waver once Rahm Emanuel called.
Until recently, Brizard has been vehement about his commitment to the city, saying that his family is invested in the area and that he wants to see through the reforms he has started in areas including teacher evaluations, school funding and charter school collaboration. His wife has even pursued plans to open her own charter school.
But more recently, Brizard has been more coy in his answers to board members and the media, saying that he would “never say never” to another job opportunity.
That article also said Brizard had ignored the school board president’s phone calls and texts a week and a half.
But then he sent that text message.