Walking tall in Philly
Philadelphia Superintendent Paul Vallas stands tall (and not only because his height exceeds 6'5"). In this age, school superintendents are hired, sacked and traded as capriciously as professional athletes, but Vallas has a knack for sticking with the home team, explains Alan Greenblatt in his excellent Governing Magazine profile. He served as head of Chicago schools for six years - an eternity for an urban superintendent. Now he's in his fourth year overseeing the famously dysfunctional Philadelphia public schools. A technocrat and gubernatorial aspirant turned educator, Vallas has displayed a knack for uniting the City of Brotherly Love's disparate factions. Although he doesn't shy from bringing private entities into the schools, Vallas still enjoys an uncharacteristically good relationship with the president of Philadelphia's teachers union. An accomplished, focused, and fair superintendent - though prone to the occasional fumble - Vallas listens to ideas and follows through on promised reforms. A true hat-trick.
"The Impatience of Paul Vallas," by Alan Greenblatt, Governing, September, 2005