CHICAGO (CBS) — Mayor Rahm Emanuel has tapped his top aide, Forrest Claypool, to run the Chicago Public Schools, and former ComEd chief executive officer Frank Clark as president of the Chicago Board of Education, a move the Chicago Teachers Union derided as more of the same from City Hall.

“I’ve never seen a manager with Forrest Claypool’s capacity for leadership,” Emanuel said Thursday morning. “I know Forrest is exactly the right person at the right time to lead CPS at this moment.”

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The mayor said he has “tremendous confidence” in Claypool’s ability to make sure every student receives a high-quality education.

The Chicago Teachers Union blasted Emanuel’s decision not to appoint educators to either of the top two positions in the city’s public school system.

“The CTU is negotiating a contract with the Board and is willing to work with anyone, but these political appointments are telling us a lot about where the mayor is taking our schools, which is over a cliff,” CTU Vice President Jesse Sharkey said. “The need for a new CEO and Board president because of corruption and irresponsible financial practices are clear examples of why we need an elected, representative school board.”

Sharkey criticized Claypool as “political ‘fixer’ and longtime mayoral insider who represents another non-education, business-style manager of our schools.”

Ignoring the criticism leveled by the CTU, Claypool said he’s alrvieady talked with union president Karen Lewis, and plans to meet with her soon.

“It is the teachers that make the difference in the classroom, and how we support them is the critical idea, but in addition to that, I think we need CTU – despite some of the rhetoric you just mentioned – to be our partners in Springfield,” he said.

Claypool said he’ll be relying on the expertise of newly appointed chief education officer Dr. Janice Jackson.

Jackson, a graduate of Hyde Park High School, has worked at CPS for more than 15 years, including as principal of Al Raby High School and Westinghouse College Prep. She also taught history at South Shore High School, and most recently served as a CPS network chief.

For her part, Jackson sought to allay any fears about having a businessperson like Claypool as CEO.

“A lot of people, I believe, were waiting for Superman, and that’s no longer necessary. What we have right now are two people with expertise in both domains that were really necessary in order to lead this district,” she said.

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Claypool twice served as chief of staff to former Mayor Richard M. Daley, and has been Emanuel’s chief of staff for only three months, after the mayor’s former top aide, Lisa Schrader, left in April for a job in the private sector.

Before that, Claypool had served as president of the CTA since Emanuel took office in 2011. Between his two stints as Daley’s top aide, he ran the Chicago Park District. He left the Daley administration in 2002 for a successful run for the Cook County Board, serving one term before his failed bid for Cook County Board President in 2006.

“Mayoral control has given us 20 years of businessmen running CPS, going back to Paul Vallas, and look where it’s gotten us. This appointment suggests that the mayor will look to cut even more from neighborhood schools, when what we need is a return to an education-centered approach,” Sharkey said.

As for naming Clark as the new school board president to replace David Vitale, Sharkey said it was simply “swapping one businessman for another,” and criticized Clark’s role in the mayor’s decision to close 50 public schools in 2013. Clark chaired the advisory panel that provided Emanuel with a lengthy report of recommendations before the mayor moved to close 50 neighborhood schools.

“Clark played a key role in managing the greatest number of school closures in U.S. history, and in the cruelest of ironies, he has a charter school named after him—the Rowe-Clark Math and Science Academy,” Sharkey said.

Claypool faces significant challenges as he takes the helm at CPS; including a federal investigation into a no-bid contract awarded to a company that once employed former schools CEO Barbara Byrd-Bennett, a massive pension debt, and teacher contract negotiations that have stalled over non-financial issues.

Right off the bat, Claypool defended a proposed school budget that relies on $500 million in help from Springfield at a time when state lawmakers and the governor can’t even agree on their own budget plan.

“This budget is designed to give Springfield time for us to work out a solution, and the mayor to work out a solution with our partners in Springfield,” he said.

Claypool roundly rejected any notion bankruptcy would be an option for the district, despite Gov. Bruce Rauner’s suggestion CPS could declare bankruptcy to help solve its financial crisis. Emanuel agreed.

“You go to a court, but the problems we have today are the political decisions that have been made over decades and decades that got us to this situation. If you came out of bankruptcy, [and] have the same system in place that drove you to it, you haven’t really changed anything,” he said.

Claypool becomes the fourth CEO of the Chicago Public Schools in Emanuel’s four-plus years in office, and the sixth since Arne Duncan left to join President Obama’s Cabinet as secretary of education in 2009.

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Since Duncan left, no CPS chief has lasted more than 2 ½ years in the job, while the first two men to be appointed CEO – Duncan and his predecessor, Paul Vallas – served eight years and six years, respectively. However, two of the people to serve in the district’s top spot in that time were appointed on an interim basis — Terry Mazany from late 2010 to early 2011, after Ron Huberman resigned before Daley’s final term in office ended; and Ruiz, after Byrd-Bennett took a leave of absence in April, then ultimately resigned at the end of May.