paymon rouhanifard

New York

NYC sitting out national move to tie charter, district admissions

New York

Rouhanifard, former NYC official, to head Camden, N.J., schools

Department of Education officials Marc Sternberg and Paymon Rouhanifard spoke to the City Council in 2012. Rouhanifard, who has worked in Newark since last year, was named superintendent of Camden, N.J., schools today. A former top New York City schools official is New Jersey’s pick to run the Camden school district, which the state took over this year because of poor performance and mismanagement. Paymon Rouhanifard, who has been a top deputy in Newark since last November, will take over the struggling district as its first state superintendent. N.J. Gov. Chris Christie announced Rouhanifard’s appointment this morning during a press conference at H.B. Wilson Elementary School in Camden. The choice signals the direction that Christie and N.J. schools chief Christopher Cerf are planning for the 14,000-student, 30-school district near Philadelphia that Christie has called "a human catastrophe." Since announcing in March that they planned to make Camden the fourth urban district under their authority, officials have overhauled staff, curriculum, and other resources in the district and flooded it with people with experience in education and management. “Paymon has a proven track record of improving the lives of hundreds of thousands of students in Newark and New York City, and brings innovative leadership that Camden needs moving forward," Christie said in a statement. "Under his leadership, I know Camden’s schools will improve on the progress of these last few months.”
New York

DOE collapses charter schools office as charter landscape shifts

Outgoing Charter Schools Office Executive Director Recy Dunn responds to a parent who was challenging the city's decision to close Peninsula Preparatory Academy in January. While one tightly organized contingent of the city's charter school sector prepared to stage a rally outside City Hall today, the Department of Education was shaking up its charter schools bureaucracy. The Charter Schools Office's executive director, Recy Dunn, is leaving the department, and the office is being subsumed into a broader division responsible for managing the opening, closing, and siting of schools, Deputy Chancellor Marc Sternberg announced in an email to his staff today. Eliminating the Charter Schools Office is in some ways a remarkable move for the department, which has made charter schools a central prong of its reform strategy. But in other ways it is unsurprising, because the office lost momentum and authority in 2010, when legislators stripped the city of the right to award new charters. Now, all new schools are authorized by either the State Education Department or SUNY's Charter Schools Institute. The city's role has been to assess existing schools, supporting them when they fall short of their promises and closing schools that do not improve. This year, the department moved to close two schools that had faced academic and management problems and backed off of a threat to close a third struggling charter school. Both closures are currently on hold because of parent lawsuits challenging the validity of the department's closure decision. A charter schools insider who worked with Dunn at the department said Dunn was well liked but that the ongoing court battles had reflected poorly on his office.