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[PLUGGED IN] Who's Doing What...

September 2007

What's Up This Month...

Michelle Rhee has been named schools chancellor of the D.C. public school system, after Clifford Janey was fired as superintendent this past July. Rhee, 37, has never before held a superintendent position, although her past experience includes teaching in Baltimore for three years and founding and heading the nonprofit group New Teacher Project, which recruits and trains teachers to serve in urban districts. Rhee’s annual salary is $275,000, making her the highest paid school leader in Washington, D.C.

Texas Governor Rick Perry named State Board of Education member Don McLeroy
as the new chairman of the board. McLeroy, a dentist in Bryan, Texas, served on the Bryan Independent School District Board of Trustees. His appointment is seen by some as controversial due to his highly conservative stances on many hot-button education issues, such as the teaching of evolution. He has also previously supported restricting contraceptive information to students. The State Board, among other duties, sets state graduation requirements, invests the permanent school fund, and establishes statewide testing standards.

The Navajo Nation Board of Education fired Tommy Lewis, its first superintendent of schools. Lewis, who had been on the job since July 2006, was an at-will employee, meaning he could be terminated at any time and for no reason, although the board did state that Lewis failed to implement a strategic plan for the Department of Dine (DIH’-neh) Education.

At a meeting in late July, the Collier County (FL) School Board voted to oust superintendent Ray Baker. The board also planned to look to Dennis Thompson, superintendent in Rockford (IL) School District, to replace him—but the decision did not come without controversy. Thompson told the Rockford Register Star that he never intended to get Baker fired, but he did advise a Collier School Board member who sought his counsel. Meanwhile, Baker not only plans to sue the board, but also claims he will file lawsuits against the three individual Collier board members who voted him out.

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