The Superintendent's Wife

Reading Carol Felsenthal's interesting Q and A with JC Brizard in Chicago Magazine today I learned not only that that Brizard's wife, K. Brooke Stafford-Brizard, is an educator with an interest in charter schools but also a TFA alum (boo, yay!), a PhD from Columbia in something other than education, and -- I don't know how to break this to you -- seems to be white. I mean pale, Sleeping Beauty white.  There's no getting around it.

Of course, neither Brizard nor Felsenthal make any mention of this in the interview, but his wife's mentioned so many times I had to look her up.  Education power couples aren't all that common, after all.  This is she, according to Facebook.

Now there's absolutely nothing wrong with interracial marriage -- seriously, I don't care -- it's just that it's still not all that common, Chicago is a notoriously segregated kind of town, and not mentioning her race makes me wonder what else they're hiding and reminds me of that politically correct "I don't see skin color" crap Stephen Colbert makes fun of on Comedy Central every night.

For all the stories that have been written about Brizard, you'd think someone would have mentioned it by this point. Then again, no one bothered to reveal or report that Huberman was gay until after he was approved, either out of fear or because we're all so evolved now.

Feel free to respond with curiosity or sanctimony, but don't think this is an invitation to make racist or abusive comments  -- I'll ban you in an instant. I just think it's interesting -- perhaps that says as much about me assuming she was black and caring that no one deigned to mention it as it does about anything else. I'm sure you already knew, didn't care, and have already moved on to something better to read.

Speaking of which, there are lots of other interesting tidbits in the interview, including Brizard's imigrant upbringing, his circuitous path to figuring out he wanted to be an educator, how he almost endeded up going to Newark (boo, hiss!), where they live (Lincoln Park, natch), and how Brizard says he enjoys executing someone else's ideas as much as being front and center.  And there's a part two, too, which you can read here.


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  • You're right, Alexander -- we already knew.

  • In reply to Anonymous:

    cool -- how did you know?

  • In reply to Alexander Russo:

    There was a pic of them together in the paper when his coming was first announced...can't remember which paper.

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    maybe the brizzard warning will attempt to put her in charge of some charters just like Rochester !!!

  • I suspect that we are more concerned about her being pro charter and ex TFA -- an historically poor combo for public school advocates,

  • In reply to Anonymous:

    Dear Alexander, we already knew she was white. The problem is she is pro charter and supports Teach for America. Rahm is going to close more neighborhood schools and replace them with charter schools with TFA teachers! That's the problem!

  • Huh? You did't know? You knew about the excellent coverage of Brizard and wife edu activities, including the charges about how he treated older AA women educators in Rochester, right? Brizard say he is not AA, which is true - he a black immigrant with African roots. I think his spouse is barred by ethics pledge of CPS from running CPS charter. Was her NY charter connected to the CPS & Prtizker connected YWLA at IIT? Of course they live where there's a "good" CPS school and where bi-racial couples are more common. His kid won't be headed to Lab school.

  • apparently there was also some kind of big welcome to chicago shindig for JCB that penny pritzker held a ways back -- i'm sure you all were there and met k. brooke at that time.

  • In reply to Alexander Russo:

    Whoa Alex. Is that tongue-in-cheek or just sarcastic? Not your usual style. I can't stand Penny Pritzker either. She is one to watch. She is a part of the Civic Federation that recommended to the mayor that our pensions be "held" until those soon to retire reach age 67, I would think that is more interesting than her soiree.

    Until K. Brooke meddles in CPS I think our attention is better directed in issues that matter, no?

  • I don't understand how the fact that you were unaware that he was in an inter-racial marriage translates into suggestion that they are hiding something. Do you ever tell people the color of your partner's skin? I find thispost a bit offensive. No one cares about this issue, they care about what he's going to do for our children,

    By the way, everyone knew Huberman was gay for years before he told the press.

  • I agree, who cares about CEO Brizard's Inter-Racial Marriage. I need for CEO Brizard to clean up CPSD 299, especially the garbage that is taking place at Tanner School on the South Side.

  • Alex, you need to check out Tanner School on the South Side. A lot of garbage going on over there. I am pretty sure you have heard about it, but take a closer look at it because you will uncover a whole lot.

  • Hey Alex:

    You need to spend more time in Hyde Park. The interracial thing is so...1970s.

  • In reply to mrobertson718:

    then why not mentioned?

    even if you take away the race aspect, you've got a prep school TFAer marrying an immigrant

    i just think everyone's scared to talk about race and class, and that includes reporters.

  • In reply to Alexander Russo:

    True that. But it's woven into the fiber of everything here in Chicago. Discussing race, class, etc., doesn't mean people are racist or other types of bigots.

  • In reply to Alexander Russo:

    I'm not scared to talk about it, it just doesn't matter. I don't like JC, but he and his wife can send their son to school anywhere they choose, just like Daley, Obama, Gore, Jesse Jackson.

    I just don't get why you think it significant that people don't give a hoot about his personal relationship. Let's go after him for trying to break our union, not the woman he loves. I give a shIt who he is married to. Until she digs into CPS (and she has not) that's her affair. I do hope he crashes and burns for his bad deeds in his job -- again, trying to break our union.

    My 20+ year marriage is interfaith/interracial. If people find that interesting then they must have really boring lives.

  • Brizard's wife is a beauty!

  • Not Again

    Leave spouses and kids out of this commentary.
    They are off limits out of bounds and none
    Of our business

  • When spouses run charter schools, they become public figures in education.

  • In reply to Anonymous:

    Yes, she is a public figure as head of a charter school in NY. Is she involved in CPS in any way that is unreported? If not, then I don't see her as a public figure as such...well, yet anyway. Have we missed something? If not, then I agree, leave her out of it. I don't give a shoot about Rahm's wife either. Or Quinn's girlfriend, or Oprah's boyfriend. Or Roger Ebert's black partner. As someone else said...."So seventies"

  • I agree with Busch, that was before JC was hired. Her photo should not have been posted here at all. Most public figures never sent their kids to public school. Many of us at CPS sent our kids to private schools (I did) and that's nobody's business either. Jimmy Carter sent his child to a public school, but wasn't he the only one? Obama doesn't, Gore didn't, Jesse Jackson didn't.

    What I mean is, go after JC for his positions, but leave the wife out of it.

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    I don't buy the whole deal with personal life being non-public. What's more personal than public education? When someone under supports neighborhood schools in their actions and then uses clout to opt out of the system, that's a public issue.

    In this case though, it's a tangential issue. Brizzard didn't "hide" anything. When it came up, he spoke about his wife, but it's weird to demand that he talk about his white wife whenever you happen to be in earshot.

  • I am trying to discern. If his wife was black, would we be having this conversation? THAT is the difference.

  • Sleeping Beauty pale.....look at the intro. This is ALL about her being white. Shame on y'all.

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