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‘Chaos?' High-ranking CPS official resigns

Updated: May 30, 2012 8:28AM



The woman Mayor Rahm Emanuel plucked from Denver to serve as Chicago’s No. 2 education person is resigning — the fourth high-ranking departure from Chicago Public Schools in recent weeks.

The 5:50 p.m. Friday emailed confirmation of rumors that Chief Education Officer Noemi Donoso was on her way out was immediately seized on by Chicago Teachers Union officials as an indication of the “chaos on Clark Street,’’ where CPS is headquartered.

“Donoso’s departure is an unwelcome signal of instability on the education side and yet another example of the chaos on Clark Street,’’ Chicago Teachers Union President Karen Lewis said in astatement. “It appears that anyone who knows anything about teaching and learning has a short shelf life at CPS.’’

In a news release, CPS officials said Donoso, 40, who made $195,000 a year, has “indicated her intention to resign to pursue national projects that will support the next generation of leaders in urban education.’’

The resignation of the former Denver chief of innovation and reform is effective May 31 — long before her two-year contract is up.

On Wednesday, CPS officials revealed they were losing a national figure in early childhood education — Barbara Bowman, head of the system’s early childhood program and the mother of Valerie Jarrett, senior advisor to President Barack Obama.

Last month, Andrea Saenz, who joined Donoso as one of eight original Emmanuel CPS appointments, was replaced in her position as Chief of Staff to Schools CEO Jean-Claude Brizard. Saenz had left the U.S. Department of Education to join Emanuel’s schools team.

Also last month, reports surfaced that Jamiko Rose had tendered her resignation, effective May 31, as Chief Family and Community Engagement Officer — a position created for her by Brizard.

Donoso, called abrasive and difficult to work with by some, had been the system’s point person on a controversial new teacher evaluation system that ties up to 40 percent of a teacher’s rating to the growth of their students.

The CTU’s Lewis called it “troubling” that Donoso was leaving “at a time when seven or eight new initiatives have been imposed and implemented on teachers, paraprofessionals, clinicians and their students.’’

However, Brizard called Donoso’s “commitment to improving the academic success of children...unmatched by most I have worked with in my 25 years as an educator. Her passion and expertise helped drive the instructional foundation we are creating.’’

Donoso, in the news release, said she was leaving with “profound respect and appreciation for this district’s commitment to young people and a sense of optimism about the future of this city.’’



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