Paul Vallas experienced tough political environments having led public schools in Chicago, Philadelphia and New Orleans so little Bridgeport, Connecticut by comparison probably seemed like a layup when Connecticut Education Commissioner Stefan Pryor asked the national education reformer to step up for beleaguered schools in the state’s largest city two years ago.
Bridgeport was hardly a palace for Vallas. Opposition from the teachers union, school board members, Connecticut Working Families Party and a lawsuit challenging his credentials to serve a Connecticut education district schooled him in a heavy dose of Park City opposition. Vallas thought he’d be in Bridgeport for only six months or so, then maybe a year, then he was given a three-year contract. But then a lawsuit followed and last week election of a new school board suspicious of Vallas’ policies. How quickly things can change. Now he’s headed back to Illinois to run for lieutenant governor. And soon in Bridgeport a search for a new super will follow and hopefully civility on the school board.
Linda Conner Lambeck of the CT Post provides the latest on Vallas:
When the call came Thursday evening, Paul Vallas was finishing up what he described as an exhilarating trip to the central part of Haiti with U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan.
Staffers for Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn were on the line. Vallas had been tapped as Quinn’s running mate in the 2014 gubernatorial election.
“Hesitate? Not at all,” Vallas, 60, the Bridgeport school district’s soon-to-depart superintendent, said Monday from his home in Chicago. “The opportunity to work for someone of the quality of Pat Quinn is not something I would pass up. I’m really excited.”
Full story here.