Jean-Claude Brizard, 47, is seen by some as a controversial choice to lead Chicago Public Schools. His three years as superintendent in Rochester has been marked by some incremental improvements in test scores and graduation numbers but also frequent battles with the teachers union over discipline policies and performance evaluations for teachers.
In February, a month after Brizard signed a new three-year contract that pays him $235,000 a year, the Rochester Teachers Association gave a no-confidence vote in the superintendent’s ability to lead.
Today, Brizard said his work in Rochester had become difficult in recent months because he had become “a lightning rod” for controversy. He said he felt guilty about leaving the district before many of his plans could be completed, but said the team he put in place there could see them through without him.
Asked whether he thought he was “bailing out” on the Rochester district, Brizard said: “It’s not about bailing whatsoever. If it was, I wouldn’t be looking for a more difficult assignment.