The Department of Education’s chief operating officer is leaving to join the nonprofit organization headed by the architect of the Common Core standards, Chancellor Dennis Walcott announced today.
Veronica Conforme, who has been the department’s top operations officer since October 2011, will become vice president of the “Access to Rigor Campaign” at the College Board, according to a department press release.
The College Board, which Common Core architect David Coleman took over last year, is rapidly becoming a top destination for people leaving urban school systems. Jean Claude-Brizard, a former city Department of Education official who resigned as Chicago’s top schools official shortly after the teachers union strike there last year, recently became a senior advisor at the organization.
Conforme’s departure comes during a period of growing uncertainty at the Department of Education. When voters choose a replacement for Mayor Bloomberg this fall, they will also be signing off on a shakeup of an education department that the mayor has tightly controlled for more than a decade. Each of the leading candidates has promised to change the way the department does business, and it is expected that replacing top officials from this administration will be a major strategy for executing that change.
For now, Conforme is being replaced by her former assistant, Andrew Buher, who is currently working as Walcott’s chief of staff.
Walcott is also promoting Marc Sternberg, who has been the deputy chancellor for portfolio planning, to a new position. Sternberg will now be senior deputy chancellor for strategy and policy, where he will shape the department’s future direction and work with other city agencies to coordinate services. He will also continue to oversee school creation, closure, and enrollment.
“Marc is a talented and versatile leader who brings an important school perspective to the work,” Walcott said in a statement. “His expanded role will help to maintain our focus on improving student outcomes. I will rely on his experience as a proven reformer as we continue our efforts to improve the service we provide to New York City’s students.”