comings and goings

New York

Rouhanifard, former NYC official, to head Camden, N.J., schools

Department of Education officials Marc Sternberg and Paymon Rouhanifard spoke to the City Council in 2012. Rouhanifard, who has worked in Newark since last year, was named superintendent of Camden, N.J., schools today. A former top New York City schools official is New Jersey’s pick to run the Camden school district, which the state took over this year because of poor performance and mismanagement. Paymon Rouhanifard, who has been a top deputy in Newark since last November, will take over the struggling district as its first state superintendent. N.J. Gov. Chris Christie announced Rouhanifard’s appointment this morning during a press conference at H.B. Wilson Elementary School in Camden. The choice signals the direction that Christie and N.J. schools chief Christopher Cerf are planning for the 14,000-student, 30-school district near Philadelphia that Christie has called "a human catastrophe." Since announcing in March that they planned to make Camden the fourth urban district under their authority, officials have overhauled staff, curriculum, and other resources in the district and flooded it with people with experience in education and management. “Paymon has a proven track record of improving the lives of hundreds of thousands of students in Newark and New York City, and brings innovative leadership that Camden needs moving forward," Christie said in a statement. "Under his leadership, I know Camden’s schools will improve on the progress of these last few months.”
New York

Santiago Taveras, public face of DOE, leaving for private sector

The city's first-ever community engagement czar is the latest in a string of high-level departures from the Department of Education since the departure of Chancellor Joel Klein. Santiago Taveras, deputy chancellor for community engagement, is leaving the department to become a vice president at Cambridge Education, the consulting firm that originally conducted quality reviews in city schools. Taveras is the third member of the chancellor's leadership team to resign since Cathie Black replaced Klein in November. Taveras, who worked for the city schools for 22 years, was deputy chancellor for teaching and learning from May 2009 until April 2010, when the DOE eliminated its teaching and learning division. He then became the city's first community engagement chief, managing the way the department explained proposals for policy changes, such as school closures, to the public. In recent months, he had become the voice of the department at public meetings, sometimes staying long after other officials to take questions and speak with parents and school leaders. A former principal, Taveras was one of the aides Eric Nadelstern name-checked as someone trained to pick up the slack after the former chief schools officer resigned in January. In addition to Nadelstern, whose position was eliminated after he left, the department also replaced finance director Photeine Anagnastopoulos, who quit the day after Klein announced his departure. The department is looking for a replacement for Taveras, according to the city's press release. Here's the city's press release:
New York

Former Bloomberg official (and critic) set to join Regents

A long-time educator known for quietly challenging the Bloomberg administration even when she was a part of it, and for doing so with success, is expected to join the state's governing board of education. Kathleen Cashin, a professor at Fordham University and former school support network leader, has been nominated for the Brooklyn position on the New York State Board of Regents, according to several Brooklyn members of the State Assembly. The 17-member board acts as a powerful school board for all of New York State, setting policy on graduation requirements and, more recently, commissioning an overhaul of the state's standardized tests. It’s not clear how Cashin’s likely appointment — she is expected to be confirmed at a joint session of the Senate and Assembly next week — will affect the board's dynamics. Led by Chancellor Merryl Tisch, the board has sometimes infuriated city officials by calling their test scores and graduation rates into question while, at other times, it has validated some of former Chancellor Joel Klein's efforts to link students' data to their teachers. During her decades of working in the city schools, she rose from being the principal of P.S. 193 The Gil Hodges Elementary School to the leader of the Knowledge Network Learning Support Organization, one of the groups that schools hire for support. She became especially well-known for her success as the superintendent of region five — a now-defunct version of a school district — where her schools posted some of the largest gains on the state tests.