More shakeup atop Philly School District
By Dale Mezzacappa on Jul 20, 2010 11:52 AM
Benjamin Rayer, chief charter, partnership and new schools officer, has resigned, sources confirmed.
The schools superintendent is also changing the structure of the business and operations side of the District. Michael Masch, the chief business officer, will have narrowed responsibilities, concentrating on financial and budget issues rather than overall operations.
Ackerman is hiring a new director of communications. Evelyn Sample-Oates, the present director, will remain in the office, but with more responsibility for internal rather than external communications.
District officials would not confirm any of the changes.
Over the last two months, Ackerman has been busy reshaping her team. She recently appointed Leroy Nunery to a second-in-command role as deputy superintendent and hired Diane Castelbuono as associate superintendent of strategic programs, including charter schools, multiple pathways to graduation, turnaround, and Renaissance Schools. Castelbuono was put over Rayer, who until then was in charge of all those areas except multiple pathways.
Rayer and Masch did not return calls seeking comment.
Castelbuono worked in the District under David Hornbeck and Paul Vallas and was most recently in charge of elementary and secondary education in the state Department of Education.
On the communications front, Ackerman and Mayor Nutter recently complained that they felt the press was not adequately covering the District's successes, including preliminary results showing an eighth straight year of test scores increases and the fact that for the first time more than half the students scored proficient or above on standardized math and reading tests. Ackerman is apparently seeking a more proactive communications strategy.