David Pickens: CPS's "Dr. Death"

I always wondered how schoolpeople react when they see David Pickens coming, and I finally had a chance to meet Pickens and ask him what it was like being mostly known for closing schools. I thought he might have a black cape and a scythe in his hand, but alas he looked like a normal, young guy.

Most visible during the Senn/Rickover controversy and the Arai/Uplift transition, Pickens has worked behind the scenes for several years on the closing process.

He said it's never an easy thing to go through, even after so many years going through it, but that it's hard to tell if people act differently around him because of his role.  He does get an earful from elected officials, he says. And the public hearings can't be fun.  But the actual notification calls to principals and conversations with staff are mostly taken care of by AIOs and teams of other folks from the Board -- including a crisis counselor. 

As many of you know, Pickens taught and worked at Price and Arai before coming to CPS.  He's also a LAUNCH graduate, according to this article in Catalyst.  Asked whether he works for Barbara or David (the main dividing line at the Board), he responded "I work for Arne."

He still seems to believe in what he's doing.  "Morally, it's the right thing to do."

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