CORRUPTION CPS! Babrara Byrd Bennett's 2012 resume was filled with 'red flags'... Should CPS have hired Byrd Bennett with all these conflicts of interest? Didn't the Board of Education ask her to get out of these conflicts?

Chicago's public schools "Chief Executive Offier" Barbara Byrd-Bennett is now under federal investigation for improprieties because of her recommendation of a no bid $20 Million dollar contract with SUPES Training Academy. The no-bid contract was recommended by her, and passed unanimously by the Board, at the Board's June 2012 meeting. Although the Board members seem to be acting in April 2015 as if this all has come as a surprise to them, in fact they knew it when they hired her. They had her resume in front of them, and apparently they did not ask her to get out of any of the various conflicts that she was involved in when they hired her.

The resume provided to the Chicago Board of Education by Barbara Byrd Bennett when she was hired in May 2012 (as a consultant) disclosed not only the SUPES Academy involvement, but also her interests in other corporations and organizations doing business with CPS. Whatever Byrd Bennett may be accused of in April 2015 as CPS attorneys and officials are testifying before a federal grand jury, she can't be accused of failing to disclose her potential conflicts at the time CPS hired her.It seems like the school district should have paid better attention to the resume she submitted when hired. Clearly in looking the resume over there are multiple red flags for anyone that has any experience in hiring new employees for a large government organization. It is clear that someone either dropped the ball or the members of the Board of Education are lying (along with Mayor Rahm Emmanuel) in the denial of their knowledge of the possible conflicts of interest when Byrd Bennett was hired back in May 2012.

The Chicago Board of Education voted twice to hire Byrd Bennett, first as a $150,000 consultant (in May 2012) and then as the "Chief Executive Officer" (in November 2012. Byrd Bennett was hired as the second CEO of the Rahm Emanuel years after the Board forced out Jean-Claude Brizard, her predecessor.

By June 2013, when the Board voted unanimously and without discussion or debate to approve the no-bid SUPES contract proposed by Byrd Bennett, the Board members had had in front of them the resume in which she disclosed her relationship to SUPES. At that Board of Education meeting, the Board members spoke about the budget, about cuts, about how members of the public should not be so rude, and about a number of other things. Andrea Zopp directed a question to "Chief Administrative Officer" Tim Cawley demanding to know that Aramark, which was to get a major CPS food service contract, was being dilligant in hiring minority and women sub-contractors. Not one of the Board members asked anything about SUPES contract, and when they came out of closed session later in that meeting, they voted quickly to approve the agenda, including the Aramark contract (which according to Cawley had been competitively bid) and the SUPES contract (which had not been competitively bid).

Along with all the other members of the Chicago Board of Education, Board member Andrea Zopp (above, during the June 26, 2013 meeting of the Board) voted in favor of the no-bid $20 million SUPES contract without discussion. During the brief discussion before the Board recessed into closed session, however, Zopp did speak. She asked "Chief Administrative Officer" Tim Cawley about provisions for minority sub-contractors in the Board's massive food services contract, about to be awarded to Aramark. Cawley's presentation emphasized how Aramark had won the contract through competitive bidding and how Aramark was working to improve its minority hiring, noting that one Aramark executive who had met with Zopp was African American. Zopp, a former federal prosecutor, apparently saw no problem with the $20 million SUPES contract, which she voted to approve at the end of the lengthy meeting. Substance photo by George N. Schmidt.One thing that the Board cannot accuse its Chief Executive Officer (to be on leave effective Monday, April 20) is hiding her relationship with SUPES Academy (and a number of other contractors and potential CPS vendors). As readers can see, Byrd Bennett disclosed the relationships on the first page of her eight-page resume. (The resume was provided to Substance in response to a request under the Illinois Freedom of Information Act, FOIA).

The entire Bryd-Bennett Resume is reprinted below for examination and discussion.


Barbara Byrd-Bennett 38155 Flanders Drive Solon, Ohio 44139

Home (440) 914-0142 Mobile (216) 225-6782


Barbara Byrd-Bennett is an experienced educator with demonstrable quality skills as a successful Superintendent/CEO, supervisor, administrator, manager, teacher and researcher at national, state, city and local levels. She has a demonstrated ability as a visionary to plan, coordinate, supervise, manage and lead school reform and turnaround in inner-city urban communities. She has a demonstrated ability to cooperatively and collaboratively work with individuals and groups including parents, students, teachers, administrators, collective bargaining organizations, businesses, universities and community based organizations. She is sensitive and responsive to the needs of special education populations and diverse ethnic and linguistic groups. She has a comprehensive knowledge of change management, budget alignment to academic program design, curriculum design, instructional methodologies and assessment practices for pre-kindergarten thru grades fourteen.


September 2011- present Independent Education/Systems Consultant

Self employed as an independent consultant with clients for short and long term contracts. Serve as a Senior Advisor for strategic planning for Catapult Learning; Senior Advisor and Master teacher for the SUPES Leadership Academy for Superintendents and Principals; Executive Coach for the Broad Superintendent Academy; Senior Advisor for the design and implementation of school turn around with Synesi. Employed PT as Superintendent in Residence for Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Curriculum Group

The $20 million SUPES no-bid contract to provide training for Chicago principals was approved without discussion or debate by all seven members of the Chicago Board of Education at the Board's June 26, 2013 meeting. The Board Report, which was signed by CEO Barbara Byrd Bennett, was one of 52 purchasing contract on that day's agenda (the agenda stretched to nearly 300 pages). While the Board members and Board President David Vitale addressed other issues during the tumultuous meeting (it was the month after the Board voted to close 50 schools), none of the Board members asked any questions about the SUPES contract, even though the Board had evidence a year earlier that Barbara Byrd Bennett was affliliated with SUPES. She disclosed it on her resume when she was awarded a $150,000 consulting contract by CPS four months before the Chicago Teachers Strike of 2012 and six months before the Board voted that she would replace Jean-Claude Brizard as CEO of CPS.May 2009 � June, 2011 Chief Academic and Accountability Auditor, Detroit Public School, Detroit, Michigan

Served as a consultant for the Detroit Public Schools responsible for conducting a complete audit and review of all academic programs and front offices of the school district; responsible for the examination of current programs to determine alignment to state and national standards; lead reorganization efforts to align academic reforms to the financial planning and deficit reduction plan; lead efforts to implement the most recent Council of Greater City School peer review findings as mandated by the District's Consent Agreement with the Sate of Michigan; responsible for the re-examine and implementation of the recommendations from the 2005 Governor's Transition Team. Responsible for the development and implementation of District benchmark assessments grade 3-12, a performance management system, an academic performance evaluation systems for teachers and principals and with a team of experts identified by the Chief Academic and Accountability Auditor and selected by Emergency Financial Manager, worked to develop a District five year plan of action contiguous to the available and projected finances.

October 2006 � December 2009 Executive Officer New Leaders for New Schools

Washington DC

Responsible for the leadership, administration and management of the national program in Washington DC; including the yearly recruitment, identification and selection of candidates; responsible for the design of the residency program and post residency program for both prospective and current principals with the Washington DC School District and for the Washington DC Charter Schools. Designed and implemented the differentiated coaching model for principals.

March 2005 � present Superintendent Executive Coach, Broad Superintendent Academy

Responsible for providing mentoring and coaching services to both traditional and nontraditional fellows who are accepted into the highly competitive professional academy that offers administrative training and managerial preparation for prospective superintendents of large urban school districts

March 2006 � May 2010 Executive �in-Residence, Cleveland State University

College of Education and Human Service Cleveland, Ohio

Responsible for nationally promoting the education programs offered by Cleveland State University's College of Education and Human Service. Served as the leader of the leader "Scholarship of Practice" model by assessing and designing the contributions of the university to the community in the areas of academic relevancy, prominence of faculty and staff and the impact of graduates and research to the pre-kindergarten through grades fourteen reform efforts. Represented the President of the University and the Dean of the College of Education and Human Service at meetings, conferences and panel discussions at the national, state and local levels.

February 2006 �May, 2009 Superintendent-in-Residency, Harcourt School Publishers Chicago, Illinois

Responsible for providing curriculum recommendations and strategies to Superintendents and/or Superintendent during strategic planning periods both district wide and/or for discrete departments and offices within the District. As a service provider, worked with and supported Superintendents and/or designees to conduct district and school audits, principal and teacher group coaching to improve teaching and learning in under performing schools. Responsible for training of selected principals and school based coaches. Keynote speaker at state and national conferences, conventions and seminars.

November 1998 � February 2006 Chief Executive Officer, Cleveland Municipal School District Cleveland, Ohio

Served as the first CEO under mayoral governance for the largest school district in the state of Ohio and the 39th largest school district in the nation. Responsible for the direct oversight of the district consistent with all provisions of House Bill 269 for 77,000 students. Effectively managed approximately 12,000 employees in over 125 school buildings and 11 administrative sites with an annual budget of over 2 billion (including the capital budget). Responsible for the successful passage of two ballot issues; construction of more than 15 new schools; advanced the district from the state designation of Academic Emergency and restored the District from the state designation of Financial Emergency. Negotiated the longest collective bargaining settlement agreements and move the district to unitarian status.

August 1996 � November 1998 Supervising Superintendent, Chancellor's District, New York City, New York

Responsible for the direct oversight of a select group of the lowest performing schools in New York City system as identified by the Commissioner of New York State and the New York State Board of Regents. Assumed all of the powers and responsibilities consist with a Chief Executive Officer in the areas of instruction, budget, and personnel with a major function of developing, expanding, supporting and monitoring the implementation of the redesign and reconstitution of the schools.

Chicago Board of Education Vice President Jesse Ruiz (above, during the Board of Education meeting that approved the SUPES contract on June 26, 2013) spoke about the Board's financial problems and told the public about how the State of Illinois had been forcing austerity on the state's school districts during the time he served as President of ISBE (the Illinois State Board of Education). RUIZ also took issue with speakers who were promoting the elected school board, noting that some elected schools boards in Illinois (notably North Chicago and East St. Louis) has also operated "failing" school districts. Ruiz did not discuss the SUPES contract at the time, and voted in favor of the $20 million no-bid deal recommended by Barbara Byrd Bennett. Substance photo by George N. Schmidt.November 1994 � August 1996 Superintendent, Crown Heights Brooklyn District Brooklyn, New York

Responsible for the leadership and direct oversight of an administrative "take-over" of the third largest district in New York City. Responsible for establishing order in the areas of budget and personnel and resuming a focus on instruction.

September 1992 � November 1994 Deputy Executive Director for Instruction Curriculum and Professional Development New York City Board of Education New York City, New York

Responsible for the planning, administration and training for the city-wide curriculum, standards and professional development opportunities for teachers and administrators. Responsible for 450 employees and the management of $400 million city-wide budget

consisting of federal, state, city and privately financed programs.

September 1984 � September 1992 Principal, Margaret Douglas School, Harlem, New York City

Responsible for the administration and supervision of the school with a population of 845 students, 53 teachers and 16 paraprofessionals. In 1990, the school was recognized by the New York State Education Department as a "School that Work-Instructional Leadership" and was a part for the PBS documentary.

Several members of the public who tried to speak in opposition to the Board of Education's budget and other priorities during the Board of Education meeting of June 26, 2013 had the microphone snatched away from them forcefully by CPS security when their two minutes were "up." During and after the meeting, the Board members sanctimoniously proclaimed how offended they were that people weren't being more polite, despite the fact that a month earlier the Board had voted to close the largest number of schools in U.S. history. Above, Wendy Katten was ordered away from the speaker's podium by Board President David Vitale, and Board security made sure she left. The official video of the Board meeting cuts these scenes, so that at times the only thing the "public" sees are the puzzled looks on speakers as others in the audience make comments, then are cut off. Substance photo by George N. Schmidt.September 1982 � September 1984 Curriculum and Instruction Specialist, Harlem School District Harlem, New York City

Responsible for the administration and supervision of the Language arts Reading Program, Early childhood programs, arts education and Parent involvement for 19 school in the Harlem school district.

February 1970 � June 1982 Teacher for Common Branches/, Bilingual Spanish grades k-8; high school


*Urban Superintendents of America- Past President

*United States Department of Education National Assessment Governing Board for NAEP Committee member on Standards and Design; Methodology and 12th Grade Participation

*Chairperson American Federation of Teachers Innovation Fund

*President, Barbara Byrd-Bennett Foundation for Cleveland's Children

*Board of Directors Education Commission of the States

*Vice-President Charter School Board-Achieve Prep Academy, Washington, DC

*Board of Directors/Executive Committee -National Center for Education Accountability

*Board of directors and Senior Advisor for the Education Research Development Institute

*Board of Directors Common Core Curriculum

*Board of Directors National Board for Professional Teaching Standards

*Board of Directors Albert Shanker Institute

*Trustee WVIZ/PBS

*Playhouse Square Board of Trustees

*Hawken School Board of Trustees.

*Board of Directors United Way, Cleveland Ohio

*Board of Directors Rock and Roll Hall of Fame


*National Urban League

*Advisory Board Shoes and Clothes for Kids

*National Association of Black School Educators

*American Association of School Administrators

*Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development

*Southern Christian Leadership Conference

One of the six Board members who voted in favor of the SUPES contract was the newest Board member, venture capitalist Deborah Quazzo. Quazzo had just been appointed to the Board, replacing billionaire heiress Penny Pritzker, who had gone to Washington to serve as U.S. Secretary of Commerce by appointment of President Barack Obama. Withing 18 months, Quazzo's conflicts of interest became public knowledge thanks to an investigation by the Chicago Sun-Times, but her fellow Board members praised Quazzo and expressed anger that members of the public were being so insensitive to Quazzo, who, they said, cared a lot about Chicago's children. Substance photo by George N. Schmidt.REQUESTED SPEAKER AND PRESENTER

Keynote speaker, seminar presenter, panelist, workshop leader and think tank participant on topics relating to leadership; curriculum; standards based instruction; accountability systems; civic capacity building; data-driven decision making and performance driven systems; school closing and school construction and planning; school safety and parent engagement for organizations including, various universities, civic groups, professional organizations; business and corporate groups; faith-based organizations and state departments of education:

Democratic National Convention-opening speaker on education

Joint Committee for the Reauthorization of NCLB Council of Greater City Schools

Urban Superintendent Association of America City Club Citadel of Free Speech

American Association of School Educators Albers Shanker Institute

National Urban League

Aspen Institute Ideas Festival


*2010 Crain's Women to Watch Detroit, Michigan

*2006 Building named in my honor - Barbara Byrd-Bennett Professional Development Center

*2010 Bangladeshi American Parent Community Recognition Award

*2005 City Year Cleveland Lifetime Idealism Award

*2004 State Distinguish Educator for the Arts Award

*2004 Omega Psi Phi Zeta Omega Chapter Community Dedication award

*2003 Jewish National Fund of America Tree of Life Award

*2003 National Council of Negro women Community Impact Award

*2003 Continental Society Woman of Distinction Award

*2002 Northern Ohio Live Award Top Rainmaker Education Award

*2002 Black Professional of the Year Award

*2002 Ohio Federation of Teacher Friend of Public Education Award

*2002 Greater Cleveland chapter of the Public Relations Society Award

*2002 HOST Champion for children award

*2001 Inside Business Woman of the Year Award

*2001 Council of Greater City Schools Superintendent of the Year Award

*2001 100 Black Men Educator of the Year Award

*2001 Shoes and Clothes for Kids Educator of the Year Award

*2001 Congressman Louis Stokes Champion Award

*2001 Project Love Celebration of Goodness Award

*2000 Urban League Whitney M. Young Humanitarian Award

*1996 District Attorney Hines Humanitarian Award

*1994 New York City Council President's Educator of the Year Award


May 2001, 2002 and 2003 Honorary Doctorates confirmed by Cleveland State University, Baldwin-Wallace College; John Carroll University and Notre Dame

June 1987 Doctorate Candidate Columbia University,, Teachers College, New York City - Penn Fellow

June 1984 Master of Science, Pace University, New York City

August 1970 Master of Arts, New York University, New York

August 1969 Bachelor of Arts, Long island University, New York City


*Certified New York City Common Branches teacher Pre-kindergarten-grade 8

*Certified New York City bilingual high school teacher

*Certified New York State Administrator

*Certified New York State Superintendent