After nearly 40 years working in New York City schools, Deputy Chancellor Eric Nadelstern is retiring.
As a top aide to former Chancellor Joel Klein, Nadelstern was the architect of many of the city’s key initiatives, including the move to give principals greater freedom to run their schools as long as the schools met the city’s performance standards.
Nadelstern is the Department of Education’s most senior educator in an administration that has often been criticized for being filled with officials who lack experience in schools. He began teaching in 1972 at Dewitt Clinton High School, the high school from which he graduated, and has since worked at almost every level of the city’s education system.
Speculation that Nadelstern might leave the DOE has been mounting since Mayor Michael Bloomberg announced that he was replacing Klein with Hearst publishing executive Cathie Black. Nadelstern had been often suggested as a potential successor to Klein, and many observers thought he would be an obvious choice for the new Chief Academic Officer position created to secure Black’s appointment. That position went to a younger Klein deputy, Shael Polakow-Suransky.
It’s unclear why Nadelstern is leaving mid-year. In December, Nadelstern told a group of school network leaders that he planned to stay “at least through June,” which prompted speculation that he would leave at the end of the school year.
CHANCELLOR BLACK ANNOUNCES RETIREMENT OF ERIC NADELSTERN AFTER 39 YEARS AT DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION Division of School Support and Instruction Will Merge with the Division of Performance and Accountability and Report to Chief Academic Officer Shael Polakow-Suransky Schools Chancellor Cathie Black today announced the retirement of Eric Nadelstern, Deputy Chancellor for the Division of School Support and Instruction, who has served the City’s public school children for the past 39 years. During his tenure at the Department, Mr. Nadelstern was the architect of multiple initiatives that have won national acclaim, including creating an innovative public secondary school for English Language Learners that has been widely replicated throughout the city and around the country. Mr. Nadelstern went on to spearhead the City’s efforts to phase out low-performing high schools and replace them with new, small schools, which have achieved tremendous results with the same student populations. In addition, he oversaw the creation of Empowerment Schools, a citywide district reform initiative serving 500 schools that accepted increased accountability in return for major decision-making authority, and served as the model for the current culture of empowerment that principals experience today. Mr. Nadelstern began his career as a teacher at Dewitt Clinton High School in 1972, before moving on to positions including Staff Developer for English as a Second Language programs, Assistant Principal, Founding Principal of the International High School at LaGuardia Community College, Deputy Superintendent for New and Small Bronx High Schools, Chief Academic Officer for New Schools, and Chief Executive Officer for Empowerment Schools. For the last two years, in his role as Chief Schools Officer and Deputy Chancellor for the Division of School Support & Instruction, he has led the Department’s efforts to support schools in achieving excellence. “Eric has had a long and distinguished career during which he was profoundly committed to supporting schools and advocating for the children of this City,” Chancellor Black said. “I and so many of his colleagues are deeply grateful to Eric for his many years of service and wish him the best in his retirement and future endeavors.” “I have truly loved every position I have had the opportunity to hold during the last 39 years,” Eric Nadelstern said. “Whether as a teacher, a principal, or a Deputy Chancellor, it has simply been an honor and a privilege to serve the children and families of New York. I look forward to continuing to contribute to this important work in new ways.” “I know I speak for many when I say Eric’s extraordinary leadership, expertise, and wisdom have deeply shaped my work as an educator and a leader and enabled true breakthrough gains for thousands of our students,” Chief Academic Officer Shael Polakow-Suransky said. “I hope to build upon the foundation he has laid in order to support our schools as we work towards ensuring each of our students graduates with the skills and knowledge to succeed in college and the workplace. Mr. Nadelstern’s retirement will be effective January 28. The Division of School Support and Instruction will merge with the Division of Performance and Accountability into the Division of Academics, Performance and Support and will report to Chief Academic Officer Shael Polakow-Suransky.