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DOE reorganization: Fewer officials to report to chancellor

The same person who will lead the Department of Education’s review of special education masterminded the internal reorganization that’s currently underway at the department.

DOE spokesman David Cantor told me Garth Harries, who came to the DOE from the consulting firm McKinsey & Company, devised the new organization as a way to make the department more efficient. At a time when cuts to schools and “potentially hundreds of layoffs” are on the horizon, “we had a strong feeling we need to be as efficiently organized as possible,” Cantor said.

With only a few exceptions, the new organization simply adds a level of reporting between managers and Schools Chancellor Joel Klein, who until now has had more than 20 DOE officials reporting directly to him, Cantor said. “When the dust settles, there’s not really anything that’s notably different about it,” he said.

One place where changes are more substantive is in the Office of Portfolio Development, currently run by Harries, where responsibilities are being dispersed among several different managers. The charter schools office is going to Eric Nadelstern, the system’s new “chief schools officer.” The groups that have supported career and technical education and small learning communities within larger schools will report to Marcia Lyles, who leads the department’s teaching and learning division. And the “systems planning” personnel, who work on creating, siting, and closing schools, will now fall under the supervision of Kathleen Grimm, the deputy chancellor for finance and administration.

Still reporting directly to the chancellor, in addition to Grimm, Lyles, and Nadelstern, are accountability czar James Liebman; Christopher Cerf, the deputy chancellor who supervises human resources and communications; and Chief Operating Officer Photeine Anagnostopolous. Cantor said the new organization is not set in stone but he does not expect “seismic change.”

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