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Life After D.C. Schools: Brady, Ackerman

During his 2 1/2 years as then-schools superintendent Clifford Janey's chief business operations officer, Thomas M. Brady made no secret of the fact that he wanted to be the man in charge. Brady, who had trained to become a superintendent at the Broad Foundation in Los Angeles, interviewed for several open school chief positions around the country.

Thomas Brady chats with a police officer during a mercury scare at Cardozo High School in March 2005, when he was chief business operations officer with the schools. (Nikki Kahn)

Now after spending nearly a year as interim superintendent in Philadelphia, Brady has accepted a position as superintendent in Providence, R.I.

"It's feeling good -- I feel it's a great, great opportunity," Brady, 57, said.

In D.C., Brady introduced a new procurement system and shepherded the first round of school closings and a capital program to address dilapidated buildings. "Like any urban K-12 system, [in Providence] you've got achievement gap, funding, special education and operating issues that all need to improve," he said. "We had all those issues in D.C."

With 25,000 students, the Providence district is about half the size of D.C's school system and one-sixth the size of Philadelphia's. Brady, who starts in July, will earn $244,500 a year, Providence officials said.

"Tom Brady has been recognized as a national leader in urban school education with extraordinary leadership skills and a keen understanding of what it takes for students and teachers to succeed," Providence Mayor David N. Cicilline, who advocated for Brady, said in a statement. "His appointment as our next superintendent provides an important measure of stability for the students, parents, teachers and administrators in our district."

While he does not keep in touch with Janey, Brady said he has a close relationship with Arlene Ackerman, who served as D.C. superintendent from 1998-2000. Ackerman, whom he met at the Broad Foundation, was recently appointed Philadelphia's schools chief and will succeed him.

"We've traded a lot of war stories" about D.C., Brady said.

Dion Haynes

By Dion Haynes  |  March 28, 2008; 7:30 AM ET
Categories:  Education  
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It's an absolute travesty that the DCPS system has had seven superintendents in the past ten years. All came with "thier" ideas of how an inner city system should be managed. And all used DCPS as a personal stepping stone and left the system having accomplished very little. Surely, the students and DC residents are entitled to a superintendent that not only knows how to manage an inner city system, as well as knows how to ensure the students achieve at a high level of competence. Overall the students of DCPS, are learning and achieving. The superintendent/chancellor needs to put students first, after all, they are the reason teachers teach.

Posted by: Rhojon56 | March 28, 2008 11:08 AM | Report abuse

Probably the worse thing to occur to this school system in 10 years is the lose of Arlene Ackerman. She was both intelligent and insightful. The problem was simple she was above the minds of the people making the decision at the time. She had better insight and vision than they could understand or endure. Arlene Ackerman, was truly a motivated individual that knew how to move the District system and the students forward. Our of frustration she left here for San Francisco and did very well there, and now has been named to the top job in Philadelphia.
Our lose their gain. Although I think Rhee is moving our system forward just think where we could be if if had been allowed to happen more than 6 years ago.
Sadly Arlene Ackerman knew she was defeated and was smart enough to move on. Sad day for DC. Great day for her now to be in Philli in the top position, and with a city that believes in her.

Best of Luck Arlene!

Keith Jarrell

Posted by: k.jarrell01 | March 28, 2008 2:28 PM | Report abuse

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