The appointment of Cathleen Black as Schools Chancellor demonstrates that Mayor Bloomberg has listened to what parents and educators believe is needed in a leader of the city schools.
In recent years, complaints about the Department of Education have focused on the need for better communication, more consultation, and greater sensitivity to how management and policy decisions affect the school community. When it comes to addressing these concerns, Cathie Black is an inspired choice for Chancellor. She is a first-rate manager who knows how to build consensus. She is a world class marketer, capable of understanding and meeting the needs of her customers. She knows how to develop and lead a team.
Randi Weingarten, leader of the AFT, often said that reforming New York’s school system is like turning a huge battle ship – an act that requires patience and a steady hand, along with teamwork and alignment of objectives among parents, teachers and administrators. People who know and have worked with Cathie over the course of her career believe that she is well suited to this task.
In the last eight years, many educational reforms have been introduced into our city school system. The next phase of progress does not call for a pedigree in education. It requires a leader who can bring together the diverse school community in order to translate reform ideas into the reality of great student achievement. Cathie Black is prepared to take everything she has learned during a very successful career in business and put it to work for the city’s schools. This is the kind of commitment that New Yorkers should celebrate.
Kathryn Wylde is President and CEO of the Partnership for New York City, a coalition of the city's top business executives.