People: Solomon To Head Boston Reform Group
News out today is that the Boston Plan for Excellence, the "critical friend" to the Boston Public Schools long headed by former Kennedy staffer Ellen Guiney, is soogoing to be run by Jesse Solomon, who's headed the Boston Teacher Residency program for the past several years. Details below. Congrats, condolences.
It is with pleasure that I write to let you know of two important developments at the Boston Plan for Excellence: a change in leadership, and an important new direction in our work.
Public education in Boston is dramatically different from when I began as executive director at BPE in the fall of 1995, and, I would argue, demonstrably better, based on both test scores and our staff's daily observations in schools. More good schools -- both within and without the Boston Public Schools -- much great teaching, and many principals as good as any in the country add up to better opportunities for Boston students. BPE has been a big part of these improvements, with its unwavering focus on helping schools use data and evidence to make decisions, its creation of tools that schools use and respect, and its attention to effective teaching and opportunities for teachers to work together to make sure students learn more. I am proud to have been a part of this.
When I worked for Senator Kennedy, I thought that would be the best job I'd ever have. As I look back at my years at BPE, I'm not so sure. It has been a tremendous experience to be so close to students, teachers, leaders, and the immense challenges of urban public education.
The challenges remain. To strengthen ourselves to better meet them, the BPE board and I have agreed it is time for BPE and its most important program,Boston Teacher Residency (BTR), to reconstitute ourselves under new leadership. Last week, the BPE trustees voted unanimously that Jesse Solomon, BTR's director, will succeed me on June 7, 2011. I will stay on for one year as senior advisor.
The trustees vote for Jesse's appointment rested on the strong vision and direction he laid out that puts students at the center, concentrates our efforts, holds ourselves accountable for student learning in specific ways, and includes promising new partnerships. In the coming weeks, you will be hearing more concrete details about our direction for the next years.
I could not be more pleased by these developments. My respect for Jesse is without reservation. He is a leader who has taken an important concept -- that teacher preparation must place take in classrooms, not the academy -- and turned it into not just a source of excellent teachers for Boston, but a national model. BPE's and BTR's convergence on a common direction, with the strong support of our funders, particularly Bank of America that created us in 1984, inspires my confidence that our common efforts for schoolchildren in Boston will grow and surpass even our impressive accomplishments of the past.