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Groups Want A Say In School Chief Huberman’s Replacement

CPS CEO Ron Huberman (David Banks/Getty Images)

CPS CEO Ron Huberman (David Banks/Getty Images)

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CHICAGO (CBS) – No more lawyers, no more businessmen, no more bosses loyal to the mayor.

That’s the demand from a group of community and union leaders who spoke Thursday about the type of individual who should replace Ron Huberman, the outgoing head of the Chicago Public Schools.

As CBS 2’s Dorothy Tucker reports, the groups want a say in the process.

 “Let’s do a national — or international, for that matter — to search and find a qualified educator to run the Chicago Public Schools,” Karen Lewis, president of the Chicago Teachers Union, said.

The emphasis was on the word educator. Advocates who attended a Thursday news conference made it clear what they didn’t want.

“In Chicago, we the public do not want … corporate lawyers, bankers or real estate developers,” Rico Gutstein, Coordinator for the Teachers for Social Justice, said.

It was a clear swipe at outgoing schools CEO Huberman, whose resume includes that of a former police officer, former head of the CTA, and once the mayor’s chief of staff but not an educator.

“We need a school superintendent whose loyalties are to the students, not to the mayor,” said Julie Woestehoff, executive director of Parents United for Responsible Education.

Mayor Daley appointed Huberman last January. He replaced Arne Duncan, who replaced Paul Vallas. They, too, came from a business background.

“It’s very simple; we need to change this model. It has not worked,” Carolina Gaete, co-director of Blocks Together, said.

 But Mayor Daley made it clear it’s a model he intends to stick with.

“The CEO is always more of a business person,” Daley said at a separate public appearance.

The mayor said Huberman’s successor should understand education and its importance.

Whoever the mayor selects may only be the interim CEO. The next mayor will most likely bring in his own person. Representatives from the community groups say they want a role in choosing the next CEO.