Chicago Schools CEO Jean-Claude Brizard Resigns

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According to the Chicago Sun-Times, Chicago Public Schools CEO Jean-Claude Brizard has resigned from his position as head of the city's school district. The news comes just 17 months after being handpicked by Mayor Rahm Emanuel to lead during the mayor's massive education reform plans. Despite leaving the job during a time of teacher strikes and drastically longer school days, Brizard's exit was by "mutual agreement." Here are some facts and details about Brizard's resignation announced this Friday, including his replacement and what's next for the third-largest school district in the country:

* WBEZ noted that Brizard had remained out of sight during the recent teachers strike and the related contract negotiations. This led to rumors about him leaving his position as CPS CEO, a rumor which Emanuel continuously denied.

* The CPS CEO position comes with a $250,000 yearly salary, but it's unknown as to what financial deal was struck, if any, in his resignation.

* In a statement regarding his exit published by the Chicago Sun-Times, Brizard highlighted his successes: "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 freshmen 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."

* At a news conference on Friday, Emanuel introduced Barbara Byrd-Bennett as the new CPS CEO. She is a former teacher and administrator who had been working as Chicago's interim chief education officer, noted the Associated Press.

* Additionally, Byrd-Bennett played a role in the teacher contract talks during the recent strike.

* Emanuel said that the decision for Brizard to leave was made recently and his talks with Brizard mainly focused on incompatibility between the former CEO's management style and the mayor's education agenda.

* The mayor commented on moving forward with Byrd-Bennett: "We have a break point here with a new contract that has to be implemented. This is a unique opportunity. Executing on it down to the classroom is key. I don't want anything distracting from it. It's time for a clean break. What he said to me is, Barbara is the right person to pick up the baton and take it to the next level."

* NBC 5 Chicago noted that sources confirmed that Brizard actually gave his resignation to the mayor on Monday and personally spoke to Chicago Teachers Union (CTU) President Karen Lewis about his decision.

* Prior to coming to Chicago in April 2011, Brizard worked as the superintendent of schools in Rochester, N.Y., for three years.

* A spokeswoman for CTU called his resignation "shocking" and said "the children deserve stability at the top," according to the Associated Press.

* Brizard's annual job evaluation was filled with low marks regarding his communication and management of the district.

Rachel Bogart provides an in-depth look at current environmental issues and local Chicago news stories. Currently pursuing her master's degree in environmental science, she applies her knowledge and passion to both topics to garner further public awareness.

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