Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel announced leadership changes at the Chicago Public Schools on Thursday.
He selected his chief of staff and former Chicago Transit Authority President Forrest Claypool as the new CPS CEO. Chicago Board of Education member Jesse Ruiz had held the CPS CEO position on an interim basis since Barbara Byrd-Bennett's leave of absence in mid-April and her subsequent resignation. Ruiz will continue to be the board's vice president.
Emanuel on Thursday also announced that Chicago Board of Education President David Vitale is being replaced by Frank Clark, ComEd's former chairman and CEO. Clark chaired CPS' Commission on School Utilization, which gathered public input and made recommendations about the 2013 school closings.
Also, the district's new chief educational officer will be Janice Jackson, a CPS network chief.
Former CPS CEO Byrd-Bennett stepped down amid a federal investigation into the role she may have had in the $20.5 million no-bid contract with SUPES Academy, which provides training for school principals, as she was a previous employee of the company. Vitale was board president when SUPES was granted the no-bid contract.
In addition to the federal probe into the SUPES contract, CPS is up against a more than $1 billion budget deficit and pressing pension issues. Additionally, the teachers union and the school district have yet to settle a new labor agreement.
While discussing his new CPS CEO Pick on Thursday, Emanuel said, "I've never seen a manager with Forrest Claypool's capacity for leadership."
"He is proven to be unique with a set of skills in public service, public talent and a spirited sense of public service, from City Hall to the CTA, and now he will show that again with our schools," the mayor added, reported the Chicago Tribune. "I know Forrest is exactly the right person at the right time to lead CPS at this moment. With the financial crisis at CPS having reached the doors of our schools, Forrest has the skills but also the relationships in Springfield to work through these challenges to ensure the gains we've made educationally continue on the right path and that the financial challenges do not threaten them."