It looks to me as if the screaming and yelling about the "white man's club" - the partnership of Mayor Mike Bloomberg, former NYC DOE CEO Joel Klein, and DOE General Counsel Mike Best - worked, and now we will see a gentler, more "willing-to-listen" triumvirate at the top of the New York City Department of Education. Courtnaye Jackson-Chase is, like Dennis Walcott, African American, and she is someone who makes you think she is listening to every word you say. I had several meetings with her at Tweed in 2010 about the rubber rooms. One meeting included David Brodsky as well. Courtnaye was (is?) Theresa Europe's Supervisor.
It will be a little more friendly over at 52 Chambers Street, and I'm sure the press will play the "nice" card. However, this should not dull anyone into thinking that this is any change in policy for the NYC Department of Education. No matter how "nice" Mayor Bloomberg's Department of Education seems to be, the regime is still totalitarian, still destroys public schools in favor of private enterprise, and still harms black and hispanic children as well as anyone with special needs of any age.
I'm not going to be silent until we have an elected school board in every district (goodbye CECs!), an elected New York City Board of Education which votes on specifications brought against tenured teachers and supports videotaped classroom observations, and creates a policy of respect for diversity that does not include suspensions for kids who have IEPs and no one to help them.
MAYOR BLOOMBERG ANNOUNCES THAT DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION GENERAL COUNSEL MICHAEL BEST WILL RETURN TO CITY HALL AS COUNSELOR TO THE MAYORChancellor Walcott Appoints Senior Advisor to the Chancellor Courtenaye Jackson-Chase General Counsel – She Previously Served as Deputy General CounselMayor Michael R. Bloomberg today announced that New York City Department of Education General Counsel Michael Best, who served as Deputy Counsel to the Mayor in Mayor Bloomberg’s first term, will return to City Hall’s bullpen as Counselor to the Mayor. Best will replace Anthony W. Crowell, who will become Dean and President of New York Law School in May. At the same time, Schools Chancellor Dennis M. Walcott announced that his Senior Advisor, Courtenaye Jackson-Chase, will replace Best as the Department of Education’s General Counsel.“When I was first getting my feet planted in government, I quickly realized that Mike Best’s deep understanding of how the City really works was an invaluable resource,” said Mayor Bloomberg. “His smart, savvy advice was instrumental in some of our Administrations earliest successes, and I’m excited to have him return as we keep building on everything we’ve accomplished since then.”“While I am sorry to see Mike go next door to City Hall, Courtenaye’s keen analytical eye and excellent advice have served the students of this city, their parents and me extraordinarily well,” said Chancellor Walcott. “I know that she will continue to excel as she takes on this newest challenge for us.”“Serving in Mayor Bloomberg’s Administration is a tremendous privilege, and I am deeply honored that the Mayor has asked me to become his Counselor in City Hall,” said Best. “I am grateful to Chancellor Walcott and former Chancellor Klein for letting me play a part in improving the City’s schools, and I am excited for the opportunity to advise the Mayor in a new capacity.”“I am extremely honored to serve Chancellor Walcott in this capacity and am truly grateful for this great new opportunity to help make sure our 1.1 million students are given the best possible learning environments,” said Jackson-Chase. “And I’m very grateful to Mike Best for leaving such a solid foundation in the General Counsel’s Office to build on.”Early in their legal careers, Best and Jackson-Chase worked as Assistant District Attorneys in Manhattan, where they collaborated on cases involving major crimes and long-term investigations. At the Department of Education, they worked especially closely together during the negotiations that led to the end of “rubber room” assignments for teachers in 2010.Best began his service with City government as a New York City Urban Fellow in 1987, and after completing law school he served as a law clerk for Judge Thomas P. Griesa of the Southern District of New York. He later served as General Counsel to Mayor Giuliani’s Criminal Justice Coordinator Steven Fishner and directed Mayor Giuliani’s Office of Contracts. Appointed Deputy Counsel to Mayor Bloomberg in 2002, Best was hired by Chancellor Joel Klein to be the General Counsel to the New York City Department of Education in 2004 after Best served as General Counsel to the New York City Host Committee for the Republican National Convention.At the Department of Education, Best has played key roles in reauthorizing mayoral control of the schools and lifting the cap on charter schools to secure Federal Race to the Top funding. Best has managed the Department’s legal, discipline, labor relations, audits, investigations, compliance, equal opportunity and ethics offices. His support for key Department initiatives has included creation of a Special Education Unit to handle tuition reimbursement litigation and advise the Department on special education reform strategies, a Compliance Services Unit to assist school principals in handling critical legal mandates, and a Teacher Performance Unit to handle cases involving ineffective teachers.In 2009, Harvard Law School named Best a Wasserstein Public Interest Fellow, and in 2010, Corporation Counsel Michael Cardozo presented Best with the Dorothy Marie Miner Award for outstanding service as counsel to an agency. Best received his Bachelor of Arts, cum laude, from Williams College and his J.D., magna cum laude, from Harvard Law SchoolAs Senior Advisor to the Chancellor, Jackson-Chase works closely with Chancellor Walcott to coordinate the work of his leadership team. Her responsibilities also include advising the Chancellor and General Counsel on compliance strategy, regulatory issues and interagency coordination. As the chief deputy to Best for five years, she was responsible for oversight of the legal, compliance, disciplinary and investigative units of the Office of the General Counsel.Ms. Jackson-Chase was one of the core team members responsible for developing the Department’s compliance services program, which provides support to schools while ensuring key mandates are met. She was also instrumental in reducing the length of time of the Department’s investigations and disciplinary hearings. While serving as General Counsel, Ms. Jackson-Chase will continue to work on key policy initiatives for the Chancellor, including the Department’s first social media policy.Jackson-Chase attended New York City public schools and later earned a Bachelor of Science from Cornell University and her J.D. from the Hofstra University School of Law.
Senior Advisor to the ChancellorCourtenaye Jackson-Chase
Chief Operating OfficerVeronica Conforme
Chief Information OfficerKemi Akinsanya-Rose
Division of Finance
Michael Tragale, Chief Financial Officer
Division of Academics, Performance, and Support
Shael Polakow-Suransky, Chief Academic Officer and Senior Deputy Chancellor
Dr. Dorita P. Gibson, Deputy Chancellor
Division of Portfolio Planning Marc Sternberg, Deputy Chancellor
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Division of Talent, Labor and Innovation
David A. Weiner, Deputy Chancellor
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Laura Rodriguez, Deputy Chancellor
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Michael Best, General Counsel to the Chancellor
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