In naming Cathie Black, an executive at Hearst Magazine, to take over for schools chief Joel Klein, Mayor Michael Bloomberg is continuing his tradition of naming private sector executives to run public sector agencies.
Bloomberg called Black “someone who has a proven track record of taking big organizations to the next level,” emphasizing the managerial demands of the Chancellor’s job.
“Joel [Klein] has built on the past, he has made an enormous difference, and Kathy is going to pick up the ball and carry it on down the field,” Bloomberg said.
In response to questions about why he did not choose someone from the education field, Bloomberg said that it was not necessary for the position.
“Joel has built an amazing staff of pedagogical experts, that’s not our problem.”
Pointing out the bureaucratic nature of the position “that has to deal with all levels of government,” Bloomberg said that Black has the organizational strength to effectively run the public schools.
“She has more experience doing these things than Joel or I ever had” he said. “She is a world class manager.”
For her part, Black said she was eager for new challenges.
“I have no illusion of this being an easy next three years,” Black said. “I’m deeply respectful of what has done before me and very excited about what is in front of me.”
Klein famously tangled with the powerful teacher’s union. Even yesterday, he told the editorial board of the Staten Island Advance that members of the United Federation of Teachers were on an “anti-accountability kick.”
Black confessed that she had little experience negotiating with labor in her previous capacities as a publishing executive.
“I’ve had limited exposure to unions though I spent almost 8 years at USA Today which was a part of Knight-Ridder,” she said.
Klein announced that he accepted a position to work as an executive vice president of NewsCorp. and serve on their board of directors, helping to “develop a strategy to put them in the burgeoning education work place.”