Monday, June 1, 2015

A receiver for Holyoke: Steve Zrike

Commissioner Chester announced today that he was appointing Steven Zrike, current superintendent of the Wakefield Public Schools as receiver for the Holyoke Public Schools.
(Does anyone else think it's weird how far down on that announcement you have to read before you get to his current position?)
Zrike blogs and is on Twitter
Zrike served as the principal of the Blackstone School in Boston for five months (more about his time there here) after finishing his dissertation at Harvard; prior to that he was the principal of the Ohrenberger Elementary for two years. The Globe covered his departure for Chicago in 2011 from the Blackstone, dubbing him a "hero principal" of the mold called for in the turnarounds required by the Obama administration. 
It appears that he was not popular with some in Chicago, where he served in a position that had a number of titles (something like "divisional superintendent" might be right). It's probably good to read his (brief) comments on parent involvement in the Logan Square Neighborhood Association study; he also was interviewed about Experience Corps (a volunteer program) here. Very relevant to Holyoke are his comments on bilingualism, 'though they're oddly non-committal about best practices (which there are some). You can watch him talk about the Common Core and quality pre-k here.
Zrike has been superintendent of Wakefiled since 2013; about all he's been quoted about in the press that I can find is safety protocols.

The only thing I'd note is that he's being held up as a school turnaround specialist. That's based on his time in Chicago (which looks a bit dubious) and his time in Boston, which was (from what I can find) two and a half years.

That's what I've got so far.

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