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CTU president: New school CEO 'highly qualified'

Published: Friday, Oct. 12, 2012 3:00 p.m. CST

CHICAGO (AP) — Chicago Teachers Union President Karen Lewis says the new public schools CEO is "highly qualified" and was a key in helping to settle the recent strike.

Lewis says that Barbara Byrd-Bennett has a reputation of fostering good labor-management relations. Byrd-Bennett has served as CEO at Cleveland schools.

Mayor Rahm Emanuel announced Friday that Byrd-Bennett was replacing Jean-Claude Brizard. He resigned Thursday night after 17 months as CEO.

Emanuel says his departure was by mutual agreement because Brizard feared questions about his management were becoming a distraction to the mayor's reform goals.

Byrd-Bennett was serving as the district's interim chief education officer and joined the contract negotiations in late summer, just before teachers went on strike.

Lewis says Byrd-Bennett was the only person on the district's negotiating team with teaching experience.

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