Making a tough job a little easier has big impact for kids

Sure, being mayor can be tough, but I’m the first to admit that I don’t have the toughest or the most important job in Minneapolis.  The toughest job, and the most important by far, is the superintendent of schools.

Now that very tough job — which is being done very well right now by Bernadeia Johnson — just got a little bit easier. That’s because the Superintendent just made an important hire that will have a big impact on our kids and their future.

That hire is Michael Goar, who will be the district’s new CEO. Michael is a Washburn High grad who worked his way up into important jobs with the Minneapolis, Memphis and Boston school districts, then last year came back to Minneapolis to lead Generation Next, an innovative partnership in Minneapolis and Saint Paul that is dedicated to closing the achievement gap. Michael is a great Minneapolis success story and it’s great to have him back where he started, in the Minneapolis Public Schools.

Why will Michael’s becoming our schools’ CEO have a big impact on our kids? Because his helping to run the day-to-day operations of the district frees up Superintendent Johnson to lead the strategic, visionary shift that she has proposed to improve the educational experience of all students and to end the shameful achievement gap in Minneapolis Public Schools.

As she said in an important speech last month, “It’s time to get off the dime, to stop protecting the status quo, to stop being satisfied with poor performance, to stop blaming others and get focused” on answering the key question: “Why aren’t all children learning?”

I couldn’t agree more, which is why I’m especially excited about a critically important aspect of that shift: her proposal to create Partnership Zones, which I wrote about a few weeks ago. Simply put, Partnership Zones are designed to make sure that our children — especially those who suffer most from the achievement gap in our schools — are spending more time in school with the highest-quality teachers.

For Partnership Zones to move from proposal to practice will take everyone’s help, so I encourage you to stay involved: take a quick, three-question survey and contact your School Board members to let them know that you care about Partnership Zones.

Please join me in welcoming Michael Goar back home to the Minneapolis Public Schools, and join me in supporting Superintendent Johnson’s vision for partnership to end the achievement gap and make sure all our children learn and succeed.

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