Cami Anderson is out, Cerf is in, as Newark schools chief

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cerfchristieGov. Chris Christie and state Education Commissioner David Hespe have announced the resignation  of Cami Anderson as state-appointed superintendent of the Newark schools. She will be replaced by Christopher Cerf, the former state education commissioner.

On Saturday, this site published a story that top school officials in Newark are reporting that  Cami Anderson will announce her resignation this week as state-appointed superintendent. One source says he expects Christopher Cerf, the former state education commissioner who hired Anderson in 2011, to be appointed interim superintendent.

A bigger shocker, however, is that the school officials and other sources expect the board to be given a role in selecting a permanent replacement for Anderson. “I’m very excited about this,” one source said. “I feel like we should be having a party.”

Members of the Newark school board, including Ariagna Perello, would neither confirm or deny the story. They said they expected an announcement in the next few days.

Some readers have questioned whether the report was  based on “rumor.” Because the source for the report is in a position to know and will be revealed if the story is not accurate, I do not consider that a rumor. Perello called the report “unofficial” but said she and other board members have received the same information and said it should not be retracted.

It is a measure of the bizarre relationship between the hermit-like Anderson and the school board that the fact of her resignation remains a matter of speculation among the elected board members in Newark. More than a year ago, both Joseph Del Grosso, the president of the Newark Teachers Union, and newly-elected Mayor Ras Baraka, both predicted Anderson’s immediate resignation.

If any part of my story is untrue, I will report that immediately, reveal its source and offer the apologies my readers deserve. Right now, I stand by the story as reported–top officials of the Newark city school system are reporting Anderson has resigned and they have been told Cerf will take her place on an interim basis. The elected school board has been told it will play a role in selecting a new superintendent.

Rumors of her impending resignation have been echoing throughout the school system for the last few weeks–sparked primarily by her apparent decision to empty her office.  Employees at 2 Cedar Street have said her office has been empty for days. Cerf’s departure from Amplify Insight fed the rumors.

Still, there has been no confirmation from Trenton and the last word from Gov. Chris Christie on the subject of Newark is that he is not “changing my opinion.”

In the last few days, Anderson also has caved in on significant decisions–to make both East Side High School and Weequahic High School, both iconic institutions in the city,  so-called “turnaround” schools.

The sources who reported Anderson’s resignation and Cerf’s appointment say they expect a formal announcement Monday or Tuesday. The Newark school board is expected to meet Tuesday night at a regular monthly meeting. Anderson has not attended a public session of the board since January, 2014.

The breakthrough, according to sources who would not speak for the record, came in private talks between school board officials and members of the state board of education.  Mark Biedron, the president of the state school board, apparently has come to Newark and initiated “conversations” with critics of Anderson.

Four members of the school board–Perello, its president; Marques Aquil-Lewis, its vice president and  Antoinette Baskerville-Richardson and Donald Jackson spoke at a state school board meeting earlier this month.

“Too much has been happening for the state school board to ignore,” said one source, citing the decision by Lamont Thomas, principal of nationally known Science Park High, to resign, and the extraordinary decision by the principal of Central High School, Sharnee Brown, to accuse Anderson of breaking the law by transferring special education students to her school without adequate services.

Anderson’s intransigence also has fed a burgeoning student protest movement. On May 22, thousands of Newark students–many from schools that had not joined previous protests–walked out of their classes and marched to City Hall and then on to an entrance ramp for Route 21 that connected Newark to all major highways in the area and Newark Liberty International Airport.

The protest, while peaceful, demonstrated what the students could do–especially with the direct logistical support of Newark Mayor Ras Baraka who has consistently called for Anderson’s resignation.

Also damaging to Anderson was a series of reports developed by the Alliance for Newark schools that laid out evidence her signature school reform–the so-called “renew schools”–performed poorly.

One circumstance that might have ignited rumors about Cerf’s return to New Jersey was a disappearance of any reference to him on the corporate web-page of Amplify. EdSurge, a trade blog about educational innovation, reported that Cerf was cut from or quit  the Amplify executive staff. At one point, Amplify received $2.3 million in contracts with the Newark school board.

 

(More to come)

 

 

34 comments

  1. Troubled Teacher

    This is another slap in our face to appoint Cerf, even temporarily, as Superintendent based on his record and his associations. He’s as bad, if not worse, than Cami. We cannot be fouled. The pressure needs to continue and a permanent Superintendent needs to be selected, by those who represent the public schools of Newark, not the privately supported Charters, asap, before the end of summer and schools reopen in September. Too much talent is fleeing Newark and we’re going to be left with nothing soon.

  2. Chris

    Cerf’s history of corruption is so well known: He didn’t remove himself from the private position last time at any more than a surface level, so I am not sure how this time will be different.

  3. DeeplyConcerned

    Cerf’s no better than her – just more slick. And the policies he’ll be imposing on Newark will continue to be Christie’s. Be very wary.

  4. NPS Retired

    I do not trust this whole thing! Hmmm guess Crispie Creme will soon annoiunce his bid for President. Maybe there’s a deal to get her out before he does. I hope if he does run that this mess she created in Newark along with Booker and Christie gets out to the people.Yes she might be out (is she retruning the money she received as a bonus-ha!) but why Cerf??? Other districts have temporary superintendents that are not part of the “gang” that has held Newark captive for more than 20 years. Has anyone else followed the issues in Paterson schools???? Another State controlled district laying off 300 teachers because of NO MONEY. Also Thursday’s Star Ledger front page: AGAIN Teacher’s pensions will threaten school taxes REALLY????? I hope that Cami is gone but after 34 years in Newark I still smell a rat.

  5. Down Brown Unafilliate

    This is a step in another direction but let’s see where! They got rid of that Doofus in Special Education, maybe they’re all going together, let’s just hope so…

  6. Teach & Prach

    This is like replacing Hitler with Himler!

    God help the survivors…! This school year we lost 25% of our staff. Either pushed and bullied out or just jumped the sinking ship and escaped!

  7. booklady

    Just curious–how many years does a NJ employee need to be vested in pension? If Cerf, who left $141K Commiss job after ~3 years, returns as Newark Interim Supe at Cami payscale, & selection process is paced to name permanent in 2017, could he get vested w 5 years, plus better final salary toward pension?

    In Feb 11, 2014 NorthJersey.com article “NJ Ed Chief CCerf stepping down” Cerf said he “became increasingly excited about my ability to make a difference from that seat” [Amplify]. Maybe the titillation didn’t last?

  8. Mr. Outside

    What does this mean for students who have been placed in schools cross town through ONE Newark? Will ONE Newark stay?

    • Urban Educator

      My guess is Cerf will implement One Newark on Steroids and place all the children in charter schools.

  9. Tom2

    Let me see if I have this straight:

    Anderson gets FIRED from here and leaves Newark.
    He gets FIRED from Amplify and comes to Newark.
    We should all stay FIRED…..FIRED UP that is, until Newark gets local control of its schools.

  10. Newarker

    Bob – how could you print a story off a rumor? Unreal. Already shared almost 1,000 times on Facebook. Seems very irresponsible. Will you apologize when your rumor reveals itself as false?

    Shaking my head…

    Bob Braun: The source of the story is someone who should know. If, in fact, that person lied to me, I will reveal who that person is and why I believed the story. I also will reveal why I believed I had corroboration from others who should know. I also will apologize if I made a mistake. If you can tell me the story is, in fact, not true and provide evidence, I will do that now.

    • Newarker

      This is interesting. Someone starts a rumor. You write an article about it. Over a thousand people like it on Facebook. Other bloggers like diane ravitch pick it up, and you somehow blame Cami Anderson? Come on Mr. Braun, this is just really bad. And your apology? “I apologize to those whose hopes I falsely raised…” That’s like the standard political apology “I’m sorry if anyone was offended by what I said.” Not really an apology.

      You said you would name the “top official” who was your source, but you haven’t done that yet.

      Bob Braun: I have written more than that. I take responsibility–which is more than you do for your own posts.

      Whoever you are, Mr. Newarker, you are a joke. Why don’t you put your name out there and take the risk the way I did? C’mon, man-up!

  11. Karen

    Andersons ilk , without guilt, conscience or remorse has caused educational genocide to Newark’s children. We will never be able to quantify the irreparable harm to Newark’s children who have suffered under her evil. Never again must a person be permitted to do the same.

    Eugene G Liss
    General Counsel Newark Teachers Union

  12. Newarker

    Thanks for the response Mr. Braun. I look forward to your apology and to seeing who you name as sources.

    Bob Braun: Why don’t you tell me why you believe I am wrong–and who you are? I might make mistakes, but what I write appears under my name. If you are so convinced I am wrong, then you shouldn’t have a problem telling me why you believe and who you are so we know the source of your information.

  13. booklady

    Happy Father’s Day, Bob
    Thank you for your immense caring for all the children you write about.

    Bob Braun: Thank you so much. It was so very sweet of you to write that. Today, I really appreciate kind words. I only wish I was more successful in my caring.

    • Sue

      Bob, you are making more of an impact than you give yourself credit for. You kept the issues alive, when people were trying to sweep them under the rug. I am grateful. Thank you

  14. North ward resident

    Bob!
    This is but a rumor, Cami is moving her office to another location. She is been talking about this movement for two years now. Just heard, she is coming to George Washington Carver this Tuesday to cut the ribbon for STEM

    • Engaged Parent

      Last I checked the advisory board meeting was taking place that day at GWC Also, Cami WILL NOT show up anywhere she knows the information has leaked out about her appearance trust me I know….she invited herself to a PTSA meeting there and because it leaked out she did a no show….

  15. public education supporter

    Chris Cerf is and always has been thick as thieves with Tim Carden and Amy Rosen, the people who are behind Kipp schools in Newark and the very same ones who “bargain bought” a Newark public school building in an entirely illegal process. This is not an improvement in any sense, to the contrary, it is being done to take the heat off from people making too much noise about Cami while at the same time allowing the policies and the disruption to continue. Nobody should be deceived by a feeling of relief at seeing the last of Cami (and naturally her career is far from over, she has done her duty, exactly as Christie et all desired, and you’ll see that she will be amply rewarded in her next move) and let their guard down. Interims have been known to stay for years and they’re hoping that the empty promise of letting the school board have a say in the final selection will keep everyone “good” while they get on with turning Newark into an all-charter district. THE FIGHT MUST CONTINUE AND AT THE HIGHEST PRESSURE LEVELS POSSIBLE. This may well be Christie’s move to take pressure off while he finally declares himself a candidate for POTUS. Cerf will be worse than Cami, because as someone already stated, he is slicker and without her thin skin he will be able to attend meetings and hand out the BS more smoothly than she did (she is the definition of awkward, can we agree?!).
    DON’T BE DISTRACTED BY A FEELING OF VICTORY FOR HAVING RUN CAMI OUT OF TOWN…she’s doing what Christie wants and this is far from a failure for her!!

  16. ellen

    Bob, when you say, “A bigger shocker, however, is that the school officials and other sources expect the board to be given a role in selecting a permanent replacement for Anderson.”. This is a good thing, isn’t it?

  17. Concern Resident

    Bob Braun …why can’t you just SHUTUP! You probably scared off the plan…..why do you keep on messing things up!

    Bob Braun: This is the most fascinating response I have ever received. If I could have scared off the plan by simply noting it exists, then it wasn’t much of a plan, now, was it? If you know more about “the plan,” perhaps you would share it with us. I won’t shut up–but I invite you to stop reading me and then you won’t have to worry about what I write.

  18. Julia

    Bob,

    You and Save Our Schools NJ called it correctly. Cami is in fact stepping down.

    Source: http://www.nj.com/essex/index.ssf/2015/06/state_to_oust_newark_schools_superintendent.html

    NEWARK – Cami Anderson’s will step down as Newark’s superintendent of schools by July 8, state Education Commissioner David Hespe announced today.

    Hespe said he will recommend former state Education Commissioner Chris Cerf to replace her.

    Cerf would need to be approved by the state Board of Education, Hespe said.

    “Superintendent Anderson has worked tirelessly over the last four years to implement a bold educational vision for the students and parents of Newark,” Hespe said. “Under Cami’s leadership, the Newark school district signed a landmark teacher’s contract, implemented One Newark, and increased flexibility and support in virtually every school in Newark. We know that these positive educational reforms will continue to benefit the students and parents of Newark for years to come.

    Gov. Chris Christie and Newark Mayor Ras Baraka plan to issue a more detailed statement in the coming days to establish a common vision and path forward for the future of the District, Hespe said.

    Earlier Monday Assemblyman Patrick Diegnan Jr. (D-Middlesex) said Hespe confirmed to the change to him. While details remained scarce, Diegnan said he believed the move was the right one.

    “I think it’s a positive step. Regardless of Cami’s motivation, she was a divisive factor in Newark,” Diegnan said. “Everybody’s got to get back on the same page.”

    The announcement marks the end of a turbulent four years as superintendent for Anderson, and follows days of speculation around the city that her ouster was imminent.
    Dan Ivers may be reached at divers@njadvancemedia.com. Follow him on Twitter at @DanIversNJ. Find NJ.com on Facebook.

  19. Joe

    Congrats are in order for Bob Braun, Mayor Ras Baraka, John Abeigon and the NTU, the Pastors and the students and everyone else that helped get Cami out. No time to rest tho, Cerf your next.

  20. Troubled Teacher

    As Interim Superintendent, Cerf does not need to be approved by the State Board. They are getting around that approval, which probably wouldn’t be granted, by not naming him permanently. Christie and his flunkies are just doing the same ol same ol. Time to go to the streets in masses until full control is returned to Newark. If not, charters will reign.

  21. DeeplyConcerned

    Don’t be fooled by this move. One person calls the shots in Newark – Chris Christie – and Cerf’s shown himself to be a loyal soldier. Cami Anderson had become a distraction, and Cerf, who’s slicker and more charismatic than Cami, is being brought in to quiet the uprising. (Christie can’t afford to have the natives restless while he’s trying to dupe the rest of the country.) I suspect Cerf will attend school board meetings and pretend to listen and care. He may even toss some crumbs to the “peasants.” To some, he may even appear to be the savior, especially after the Cami debacle. But, as we’ve learned all too well, neither he nor Christie can be trusted. So be forewarned: The course isn’t about to change. The voices in Newark need to remain loud, strong and clear.

    Bob Braun: You are absolutely right. Cerf just has better table manners than Anderson. He won’t belch at dinner–but he will stab you in the back for whoever is paying for his work.

  22. Pingback: The Newark Rumors Were Correct: Cami Anderson Steps Down Before Contract Expires | TheBestRichmond
  23. booklady

    Is it time for the 1,000 people who “liked” your post re Cami’s departure to call Governor’s office 609-292-6000 to question Cerf’s appointment?
    •He (and Booker) named Anderson–doesn’t say much for his judgment.
    •Is Cerf eligible for superintendent in NJ? He taught at private school; does he have administrator experience required of regular district Supe?
    •Cerf is likely to be subject of protests, student walkouts by an ever more experienced populace.

    And ask those 1,000 to enlist 3 to 5 more folks to call Governor’s office/State Board Ed/NJ DEd office/county supt office. Call Cory Booker’s office too, just to keep him informed.

    Ten thousand phone calls–that should have been made last August when you wrote about One Newark enrollment fiasco. Newark Teachers Union could educate & enlist family/friends to call.

  24. Pingback: Newark, Please Meet the New Boss: Who Is The Old Boss’ Boss’ Old Boss | Daniel Katz, Ph.D.

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