Byrd-Bennett's Last Job

The Cleveland Plain Dealer sent a writer out to Chicago to tag along with Barbara Byrd-Bennett as she visits Spencer Technology Academy, to talk about her rise and fall in Cleveland, and check in on how she’s doing so far in CPS (For former Cleveland schools leader Barbara Byrd-Bennett, Chicago is the final challenge). What you don’t find out — what I still want to know — is how much if any leeway she has to hire, fire, and make moves compared to her predecessor, and whether she has political chops to go along with her passion for education and way with kids.


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  • Two months in, it appears she doesn't have any more authority. She is still stuck with many (all?) of the same people that Brizard had and no rumors of change coming any time soon. Becky Carroll still has a job even after her dirty laundry about working against Brizard was spilled out in the press. There are two Chief of Staff's, Oliver Sicat is around even though no one knows what he does now, and no changes at other cabinet positions: HR or the number of Admin and Education posts (were there are a few rumors). Maybe something is coming after the holidays, but it sure doesn't sound like anything major.

  • In reply to Mike:

    If Barbara Byrd Bennett doesn't get rid of Alicia Winckler, she will end up OUT like Huberman and Brizard. Winckler has completely destroyed HR, alienated her staff, ceased recruitment and has stopped sending subs to the schools! The CTU needs to express itself about this mess immediately, before it gets worse. Alicia Winckler needs her X-mas present today--severance pay.

  • Mike, all is well at 125 S Clark. In preparation for the holidays, we pretty much stopped working for the year on December 7th, Hanukkah started the 8th (it's kind of nice to have a Jewish mayor). You are right, no changes are afoot at central office. Both Chief of Staff(s?) are doing well. Becky Carroll and Alicia Winckler are still firmly in place, apparently no need for competence in HR or communications. We are actually adding cabinet positions, but everyone is trying to keep that quiet. I don't know why. Even better, we ALL GOT RAISES!!! Big ones. Yes, we did. Happy Holidays for US indeed. I know schools are dealing with that $1 BILLION deficit, but not us at HQ. The holiday party was nice even though the turkey was a little dry. Thanks for asking. Sally in Budget.

  • In reply to westofwestern:

    what does steve gering do? Did he get a raise too?

  • In reply to district299reader:

    He appoints Napoleonic area officers without input from those they will dictate. His dictators arrive with noticeable ego, changing all that was working well in the schools, while placing more work on the backs of teachers with the most seriously confusing and time-wasting rhetoric and acronyms. So much so, that a recent area officer professional development teacher workshop was devoted to deciphering the acronyms!

  • In reply to district299reader:

    Wow, would be helpful when I arrange my RTI groups using UDL for purposes of preparing for the NWEA.

  • In reply to district299reader:

    word he is in a different position may mean time to look for a new place of employ hopefully some of his unfortunate selections will go with him who is now over the area officers?
    One reason why CPS wont release a playbill no one knows which actors will be on stage seems like a new performance every night

  • In reply to westofwestern:

    A 3% raise after a four year salary freeze is not a big raise. It beats nothing, but isn't big by any means.

  • Thanks for linking the Cleveland Plain Dealer article about Barbara Byrd-Bennett. The article was pretty really supportive and the comments were very critical of Byrd-Bennett.

    What suprised me was how upset apparently many in Cleveland still are over her time leading that school district. The only really supportive comments relating to Ms Byrd-Bennett seemed to come from people sort of saying that she was smart to get out of Cleveland because the city just is shot. She clearly made a negative impression on some people there. I am not sure Mr. Vallas could any longer stir that level of passion as a former leader here in Chicago.

    Rod Estvan

  • The comments were more insightful than the article.

  • BBB did not live in Cleveland while she worked there. She lived in a very nice burb elite?--away from reality. She should live across from a west or southside underutilized, high povery school slated to close. That would be a piece of reality for her.

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