Forrest Claypool named CEO of Chicago Public Schools

Shawnterra Moore becomes superintendent of South San Francisco USD
By: | Issue: September, 2015
August 12, 2015

Forrest Claypool, a top aide to Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel, was named CEO of Chicago Public Schools in July. Previous CEO Barbara Byrd-Bennet resigned in June amid a federal investigation into a $20.5 million no-bid contract awarded by the school board to her previous employer.

The district is grappling with a budget shortfall of about $1.1 billion for the 2015-16 school year, and is in the middle of negotiations with the Chicago Teachers Union. Claypool had been named City Hall chief of staff in April. Prior to that, he was president of the Chicago Transit Authority. He will be the district’s third CEO in the past four years.

Shawnterra Moore became superintendent of South San Francisco USD in August. She faces some turmoil. In recent years, many top officials have left the district, teachers have been unhappy with their pay, and a facility improvement fund deficit has grown to $11 million.

Moore previously served as the associate superintendent of education services in the district. In that position, Moore oversaw the rollout of the new Common Core curriculum and implemented early education programs.

In July, Ohio Gov. John Kasich, who is also a Republican contender for president, signed a controversial bill that drastically changes how the state can step in to run failing school districts. In part, the bill promotes charter schools, allows mayors to appoint school board members and creates a new CEO position with the power to override certain parts of union contracts.

Supporters say a CEO is necessary to improve districts that are ranked lowest in the state, while critics say the bill gives too much power to the unelected CEO.

Sen. Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn., and Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash., co-authored a sweeping overhaul of the Elementary and Secondary Schools Act, which passed in the Senate in July. The proposed legislation, the Every Child Achieves Act, had strong bipartisan backing and passed 81-17.

The Senate bill would overhaul No Child Left Behind and would allow states to create their own accountability systems to replace adequate yearly progress. The bill retains the annual reading and math tests required under current law, but gives states the agency to decide how those tests are used to measure school and teacher performance.

The New York State Board of Regents, led by Chancellor Merryl Tisch, released a set of school guidelines in July to prevent discrimination against transgender or gender-nonconforming students. The 12-page guidelines offer schools guidance on how to handle issues involving bathrooms, changing rooms and other scenarios.

“This new document gives administrators practical guidance to ensure their schools are places where transgender and gender nonconforming students can focus on academics, friendships, and their interests, instead of worrying about how they will be treated by school staff and their peers,” Tisch said in a statement.