Chris Cerf Goes to Newark

From today’s Wall St. Journal:

Newark’s new schools chief, Chris Cerf, said Wednesday he wants to keep an open door to city leaders.
In some cases, quite literally: He encouraged the local Schools Advisory Board to set up an office in district headquarters. 

The previous superintendent, Cami Anderson, who left the troubled system a month ago, had stopped attending the board’s monthly public meetings, saying they had devolved into dysfunction and personal attacks from the audience. 

In his first public appearance talking about his job running the state-controlled district, Mr. Cerf said the biggest challenge ahead is “to restore a sense of civility and openness and transparency around a shared vision” for helping students succeed… 

From today’s NJ Spotlight:

Board member Joseph Fisicaro asked Cerf what would happen in the next year or two to prepare the district for local operation that didn’t happen in the last 21 years of state control.
“We are going to return local control,” Cerf replied. “The timeline for that is not cast in stone, but I’m sure of at least that.”
Board President Mark Biedron ended the meeting by asking Cerf what he views as his biggest challenge.
“The single biggest challenge here is to restore a sense of civility and openness and transparency around a shared vision that every child deserves a quality education,” Cerf responded.
“There is a lot of healing that needs to happen,” he continued. “But I also know that there are also a lot of good, smart things that are happening, too.”

From today’s Star-Ledger:

“There is a really tremendously legitimate hunger for being listened to, for being heard, being engaged, and I am very committed to that process,” Cerf said. “I understand that there is a difference between listening and agreeing, but I know that I am very open and very flexible to hearing not only things that are working but things that aren’t.”

What do you think?

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