Jean-Claude Brizard, a noted educator with experience as the district leader in Chicago and Rochester and as an educator and administrator in the New York City Department of Education, joins Cross & Joftus as a partner and vice president. Current partners Christopher Cross, Scott Joftus, Sharon Deich, and Monica Rosen are pleased to join with Mr. Brizard in further expanding the firm’s broad expertise.
In addition to helping Cross & Joftus serve existing clients, such as Omaha Public Schools and the District of Columbia’s Office of the State Superintendent of Education (OSSE), Mr. Brizard will be managing two practice areas—one devoted to helping local and state leaders transform under-performing school systems and another focused on education-to-career policies and practices at the local and state levels.
Mr. Brizard spent the 2013 calendar year as an advisor to the leadership of College Board developing the organization’s career-readiness initiative. This engagement culminated in a strategic plan for integrating career readiness into the College Board’s mission and a special supplement that was published as part of the 45th edition of the PDK/Gallup Poll of the Public’s Attitudes Toward the Public Schools. He is the former Chief Executive of Chicago Public Schools. Prior to his appointment in Chicago, he was Superintendent of Schools for the Rochester (NY) School District.
Under Mr. Brizard’s leadership, both the Chicago Public Schools and the Rochester City School District saw substantial improvements in student performance. He introduced a comprehensive change agenda across the Chicago Public Schools, including closing a significant budget gap of more than $1.3 billion over two fiscal years while preserving core reforms and investing in classrooms. He developed a new framework for teaching, and the system saw record increases in student achievement, graduation rates, and on college-readiness benchmarks. He created a Blueprint for reform that will continue to serve as roadmap for years to come.
Mr. Brizard’s experience also includes a 21-year career as an educator and administrator with the New York City Department of Education, finishing his tenure as a Regional Superintendent, supervising more than 100 schools in the Borough of Brooklyn. He is a National Trustee of the Chicago Field Museum of Natural History, board member of Teach for America DC Region and New Voices Strategies (VIVA Teachers – a teacher voice organization), and founding board chair of Anseye Pou Ayiti (Teach for Haiti). In addition, Mr. Brizard is a Fellow of the Broad Center, a Fellow of the Pahara-Aspen Institute Education Fellowship, and a member of the Aspen Institute’s Global Leadership Network.
A licensed commercial pilot, Mr. Brizard credits his parents—both of whom were educators—with inspiring him to pursue a career in education.
“We are thrilled that Jean-Claude is joining Cross & Joftus,” said chairman Christopher Cross. “Aside from his unmatched experience and knowledge of the field, Jean-Claude is a highly principled, incredibly engaging leader who believes that public schools can and must educate all children if our country is going to be successful. Cross & Joftus and our clients will benefit greatly from his skills, perspective, and thoughtfulness.”
Cross & Joftus—devoted to helping public education leaders achieve outstanding results—recently celebrated its eleventh anniversary. Current practice areas include school and district improvement, educational leadership, talent management, strategic planning, school finance, community schools, and education policy.