Emanuel Tells Brizard to Hold His Head High - NBC Chicago
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Emanuel Tells Brizard to Hold His Head High



    Hold Your Head Up, Brizard

    Rahm Emanuel said his outgoing schools CEO has lots to be proud of. (Published Friday, Oct. 12, 2012)

    Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel sent his now former Chicago Public School's CEO Jean Claude Brizard out into the world with a pat on the back and an atta-boy. 

    "This has been for the last year and a period ushering in fundamental and significant reforms for the educational system here in Chicago," Emanuel said at a press conference announcing the appointement of Barbara Byrd-Bennett to take over for Brizard, who tendered his resignation Friday. 

    Emanuel gave some credit to Brizard -- and reserved plenty for himself. 

    "As I said to JC when we talked as recently as this morning 'you have a lot to be proud over the last 17 months with your accomplishments and you should hold your head up high for the record of not only issuing those reforms but starting to see the results that matter for children," Emanuel told reporters. 

    "Not only have you done a great job, you should hold your head up high, but I will continue to support you as you pursue your passion, which is helping children at all levels succeed."

    Brizard did not speak with reporters following his resignation. He did release a statement early Friday morning.

    Statement from Jean-Claude 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.