NEWARK - Cami Anderson's reign as Newark's superintendent of schools appears to have reached its end.
State Assemblyman Patrick J. Diegnan Jr. said Education Commissioner David Hespe confirmed to him this afternoon that the embattled school chief has reached a deal to leave her post. Former Department of Education Commissioner Christopher Cerf is the state's pick to replace her on an interim basis, though the succession will need to be approved by the state Board of Education.
Much more to come...Diegnan, a Democrat who chairs the state's Education Committee, said that Hespe was planning a press conference to official announce the move this afternoon.
Bob Braun, who has been covering Newark's schools longer than anyone, breaks the news:
Could this possibly be true? Well...
Poor Cerf: it's tough to sell a digital tablet for students if it melts when you plug in it...
Back in 2011, Bob Braun was the guy who broke the story about Cerf's involvement in creating the plans for Newark's transformation into a "portfolio" school system, where charter schools would be free to expand uninhibited. After "revising" the extent of his firm's role, Cerf swore that he would still be objective as NJ's Acting Education Commissioner when it came to charter schools and state control in Newark.
We all know what happened next.
Keep in mind that Anderson had served in the NYCDOE under Cerf and Joel Klein, former chancellor of Gotham's public schools. It was clear Cerf and his good buddy Cory Booker were instrumental in bringing Anderson to Newark; as recently as this past winter, Cerf was singing her praises. But once Anderson was ensconced, she proceeded to alienate nearly every stakeholder in the city's schools to the point where she became completely ineffective.
In a rational world, it would make no sense for Cerf to take over for Anderson. He fully supported Anderson; there's no reason to believe he would run the district any differently than she did. And why would he take a step down and run Newark's schools when he used to run the entire state?
So maybe this is all a coincidence. We have no official confirmation on any of this yet -- it is all just speculation. Maybe this is nothing more than rumors that won't come to pass. Maybe Newark's public schools won't be run by the man who hatched the plan to supplant them with charter schools, and who ardently supported Cami Anderson even after Newark had rejected her.
Let's see what happens Monday.
Chris Cerf: "Cami is an extremely talented, very powerful individual with an indomitable spirit, who passionately and deeply believes in the children of Newark."