Jean-Claude Brizard out as Chicago Public Schools chief



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The Sun-Times is out with a story that Chicago Public Schools CEO J.C. Brizard is leaving his job "under mutual agreement" with Mayor Rahm Emanuel. Former Cleveland schools CEO Barbara Byrd-Bennett will take over effective immediately. Brizard was only on the job for 17 months, and this makes two CEOs for CPS and three CFOs in Emanuel's 17 months in office.

It should come as no surprise that Byrd-Bennett is taking over; she has served as the interim chief education officer for the last six months, but was front-and-center throughout the entire teacher strike, fielding questions at press conferences and appearing often with the mayor. Why an interim education officer would be the face of the district during the biggest crisis in 25 years is now clear. Brizard was such a non-factor in the negotiations, that rumor spread he had been fired midway through the strike, and teachers held up signs asking "Where's J.C.?"

A couple weeks ago, I was talking to a source in Chicago schools, who said it was just a matter of a time before Brizard was let go, but that Rahm had to wait for some of the strike fervor to die down. At the time, I didn't believe it: How could Rahm still proclaim his team had reached the best deal for Chicago students, and then turn around and fire the head of that team. The answer is: Brizard wasn't the head of that team anymore, Byrd-Bennett was, and now it's simply official.

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Laura Baginski, Editor (@TimeOutChicago)