News and Speeches

Mayor Bloomberg Appoints Cathie Black - History-Making Business Leader with Proven Expertise Making Great Organizations Even Better - Chancellor of New York City Public Schools

11/09/2010

Joel Klein – City’s Longest-Serving Chancellor and First to be Directly Accountable for Schools’ Performance – Departs to Tackle Challenges Outside Government After Eight Years of Unprecedented Gains

 Black’s 15 Years Leading Hearst Magazines, 8 Years Building USA Today and 4 As the First Woman Publisher of a Major Weekly – New York – Key Preparation for One of the Toughest Management Jobs at Any Level of Government

Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg today appointed Cathleen P. Black, a highly-respected leader in one of New York City’s central industries as the next Chancellor of New York City’s Schools and charged her with building on Chancellor Joel Klein’s historic success turning around the nation’s largest school system. Over the past eight years, longer than any other Schools Chancellor has served, Klein transformed New York City’s long-dysfunctional public school system into one that the Obama administration has hailed as a national model, with higher graduation rates, a narrowed achievement gap between black and Hispanic students and their white and Asian peers, significant progress on National Assessment of Educational Progress test results and lower crime. The Mayor selected Black to follow Klein as Chancellor because of her unique experience building on successes and leading teams to even greater achievements, including her stewardship of Hearst Magazines for the last decade and a half. Black is also widely credited with building USA Today into an unprecedented success in her eight years there, and broke through an important gender barrier in 1979 when she became the first publisher of a weekly consumer magazine, New York. New York City has never had a female Schools Chancellor.

“Joel Klein’s extraordinary service to the 1.1 million children and young adults who attend our public schools has secured him a place as a landmark, transformational civic leader in our City’s long history – but for some time now, I’ve known that he was ready to move on. I asked Joel to stay until we could identify a successor – someone with the ability and experience to build on his success, and help take our schools to the next level – and I couldn’t be happier to say that we have found someone who is superlatively qualified to do that,” said Mayor Bloomberg. “Cathie Black is a superstar manager who has succeeded spectacularly in the private sector. She is brilliant, she is innovative, she is driven – and there is virtually nobody who knows more about the needs of the 21st century workforce for which we need to prepare our kids.”

“Our schools are vastly better than they were just eight years ago when the Mayor took office and Chancellor Klein joined his Administration,” said Ms. Black. “Their passion for improving the educational opportunities of our students has lifted the bar higher than anyone could ever have imagined, and my main goal will be to build on the work that has been accomplished during the Bloomberg Administration, and Chancellor Klein’s tenure. I want to thank the Mayor for the privilege of joining his Administration and the great team of people who carry out the City’s mission each and every day.”

“I want to thank Mayor Bloomberg for giving me the best job of my life and for being there every step of the way in the effort to improve education for our students,” said Chancellor Klein. “Public schools in New York City changed my own life and it has been a rare privilege to serve the kids and families of this city during the past eight years.  I am thrilled that the Mayor has selected Cathie Black, a distinguished leader, to move this work forward.”

When Chancellor Klein accepted the job as the first New York City schools Chancellor to be directly accountable for improving New York City public schools, he committed to the Mayor that he would stay for up to two terms. Under Chancellor Klein’s leadership New York City ended social promotion, and the City’s graduation rate has increased for eight straight years, reaching a historic high of 63 percent in 2009. New York City students also out-gained students in the rest of the State and the nation on the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP). Scores for City students increased by 11 points in fourth-grade reading, 11 points in fourth-grade math, and 7 points in eighth-grade math. On the NAEP exam, ten points represents a full year of additional learning. Chancellor Klein also developed a robust accountability system centered on annual Progress Reports that award letter grades to schools based on students’ academic achievement and progress, implemented Fair Student Funding to bring long-overdue transparency and equity to school budgets, and eliminated the so-called Rubber Rooms.

Since 2002, the New York City Department of Education has created 474 new schools and created 113,000 public school seats to reduce overcrowding, while investing billions of dollars to improve existing school facilities. This year alone, 17,656 additional seats came online – the largest number created for a single school year since the creation of the School Construction Authority. And between 2001 and 2009, major crime in schools fell 44 percent and violent crime in schools fell 32 percent. As of June 2010, violent crime in schools was down nearly 8 percent and major crime was down 6 percent compared with the prior year.

The Mayor also credited Deputy Mayor Dennis Walcott, Department of Education Chief Operating Officer Sharon Greenberger, and the many talented and committed educators at the Department of Education including Deputy Chancellors Laura Rodriguez, Shael Suransky, and Eric Nadelstern for these gains. This appointment is pending a waiver by State Education Commissioner David Steiner.

First as President, and then as Chairman of Hearst Magazines, Black led a team of some 2,000 employees producing more than 200 local editions of 14 magazines in more than 100 countries. Under her leadership, Hearst had record-breaking years – they built on decades of success with titles like Cosmopolitan, Esquire, Good Housekeeping, Harper's Bazaar, Marie Claire, Popular Mechanics, Redbook, and Town & Country, introduced highly-acclaimed new titles like O, The Oprah Magazine and created digital platforms that were inconceivable in 1995.  As the media industry has tackled digital changes, Hearst Magazines has been widely-regarded as being at the forefront of that evolution.

While at Hearst, Black was a member of the team that oversaw the construction of the 46-story Hearst Tower that was erected on the six-story base near Columbus Circle that Randolph Hearst had built in 1928.  The Hearst Tower, which was the first skyscraper to break ground in New York City after September 11, 2001, won several awards and was New York City's first LEED Gold skyscraper.

For eight years beginning in 1983, Black served as President and Publisher of USA Today, and then Executive Vice President of the paper’s parent company, helping personnel from Gannett publications coast to coast and from across the publishing industry build a nationwide newspaper that few expected to last.  Black started her career in advertising sales with Holiday and the then-new Ms. Magazine, and broke new ground when she became the first female publisher of a weekly consumer magazine, New York, in 1979.

From 1991 to 1996, Black served as President and Chief Executive Officer of the Newspaper Association of America, merging two disparate organizations into one non-profit that represented the needs of thousands of publishers before the Federal government and the American people.

Black serves on the Advisory Council of the Harlem Village Academy, is a longtime Trustee of The University of Notre Dame and is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations. Last December, Mayor Bloomberg appointed Black to the host committee for the 2010 National Conference on Volunteering and Service, the world’s largest gathering o service and volunteer leaders that he chaired in June 2010. In May 2010, Black travelled to Detroit with First lady Michelle Obama as part of the White House’s programs to promote youth leadership and mentoring. Black is a prominent participant in The Glow Project, a philanthropy and documentary film project aimed at empowering women and helping them overcome seemingly-insurmountable goals. She has worked with the Literacy Partners and with American Legacy Foundation designing a public service campaign to encourage women to quit smoking. In 2009, the Preservation Resource Center of New Orleans presented its New Orleans Citizenship Award to Black for her leadership in donating time, resources, and volunteers to help New Orleans recover and rebuild post-Katrina.

Black is a graduate of Trinity College, Washington, D.C., and holds nine honorary degrees. Black grew up in Chicago and attended Catholic schools.  She and her husband, the lawyer Tom Harvey, are longtime residents of Manhattan, where they raised their two sons and daughter.