Can a new breed of superintendents--drawn from outside the ranks of traditional educators--transform urban school systems? asks the cover story of the June 2001 issue of the American School Board Journal. While such "outsiders" are the exception, it is surely no coincidence that the nation's three largest urban districts--New York, Los Angeles, and Chicago--are today run by noneducators. The six-page article profiles the leaders of these three school systems as well as San Diego, highlights the challenges they all face (e.g. whether to delegate responsibility for improving instruction, managing relations with mayors, etc.), and analyzes the likelihood that each leader will succeed. Not yet available online (http://www.asbj.com/).
For a sharp analysis of the efforts of former U.S. Attorney Alan Bersin's efforts to revitalize the San Diego school district, see "A Noneducator Pulls Off the Impossible: Urban School Reform," by Larry Cuban and Mike Usdan, Los Angeles Times, April 22, 2001.