Schools Chancellor Dennis M. Walcott announced on Tuesday the departure of Marc Sternberg, Senior Deputy Chancellor for Strategy and Policy for the city’s Department of Education (DOE). Sternberg is leaving to work for the Walton Family Foundation, where he is slated to become Director of Systemic K-12 Education Reform.
Sternberg joined the Department of Education in 2010 and has served as Senior Deputy Chancellor since April 2013. According to Gotham Schools, Sternberg spearheaded Mayor Bloomberg’s controversial school closures and co-locations since that time.
“Marc Sternberg has been a spirited and devoted champion for school choice and has helped ensure that our 1.1 million students are receiving the best education possible,” said Chancellor Walcott. “When we founded the Division of Portfolio Planning in 2010, we asked Marc to lead this critical new effort because he is a resourceful leader who brings a vital school perspective to the work. Our loss is the Walton Family Foundation’s gain.”
New Yorkers for Great Public Schools, a coalition of education advocates, unions and community organizations, said in a statement that it seemed appropriate for Sternberg to head to Walmart. “No surprises here. Sternberg was a key member of the Bloomberg education regime that has starved public schools of resources and established unfair competition between charters and public schools. He’s been shamefully resume-building for a far more lucrative job, disrupting and damaging students' education by closing countless schools and ramming through divisive charter school co-locations in our communities.”
While Mayor Bloomberg touts higher graduation rates and more than 600 new, small schools, mayoral frontrunner Bill de Blasio has called for a moratorium on Bloomberg’s unpopular school closings and co-locations.
Despite Bloomberg’s efforts to sign off on dozens of new schools and co-locations to roll out after he leaves office, de Blasio has said he will charge charter schools rent for using public school buildings, scale back high-stakes standardized testing and tax the wealthy to pay for universal preschool.
Chancellor Walcott said that Saskia Levy Thompson would replace Sternberg. Levy Thompson is currently Special Advisor to the Chancellor for Educational Research and Policy. Prior to joining the Department of Education, she served as the founding Executive Director of Urban Assembly.
“The Department’s work creating hundreds of high-achieving community schools, and fostering school choice among families that historically had few options, has served as a model for the rest of the country and resulted in significant improvements in student outcomes,” said Levy Thompson in a statement.