Faced with a growing federal investigation, Chicago Public Schools CEO Barbara Byrd-Bennett will take a paid leave of absence.WOW!
Chicago Board of Education President David Vitale confirmed Byrd-Bennett will temporarily step aside.
“In light of the ongoing federal investigation and its impact on her ability to effectively lead Chicago Public Schools, Barbara Byrd-Bennett is taking a leave of absence from Chicago Public Schools effective immediately,” he said. “Board of Education Vice President Jesse Ruiz is taking the responsibilities of the chief executive officer while Byrd-Bennett is on leave. As board vice president for almost four years, and a former chairman of the Illinois State Board of Education, Ruiz has both the legal and educational expertise and experience to guide the district at this time while ensuring students and teachers continue to make academic gains in the classroom.”
Ruiz will serve as interim CEO as the district prepares to negotiate a new teachers’ contract this summer and deal with budget and pension shortfalls....
Byrd-Bennett, along with at least three other CPS aides, is a focus of the federal probe, along with the Wilmette-based SUPES Academy, which offers leadership training to principals. SUPES received a $20 million no-bid contract in 2013, right after CPS closed 50 schools.
The three other CPS officials are: chief of staff Sherry Ulery; Tracy Martin, head of strategic services; and Rosemary Herpel, a senior project manager.
The Chicago Teachers Union has said the investigation centered on Byrd-Bennett reflects a broader ethics problem at CPS, particularly among leaders.