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Chicago Names New CEO, Tenure Extended for Guilford Superintendent

  • San Antonio school chief Pedro Martinez is returning to Chicago – his hometown – as chief executive officer.

    In naming Martinez, Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot praised him as the candidate who “not only has expertise overseeing a public school system as large and diverse as Chicago’s, but shares the lived experiences of our students and their families.” Martinez, whose family immigrated from Mexico to Chicago when he was 5, becomes the city’s first Hispanic CEO. 

    Martinez said he was honored to accept the post, saying, “Education is the best equalizer in society, and I will work every day to strengthen our public schools for generations to come. A focus on equity and commitment to engaging communities and elevating student and family voices are central to the task at hand.” Both Martinez’s and Lightfoot’s remarks were published in a news release from the mayor’s office.

    Martinez previously worked as chief financial officer of Chicago Public Schools for six years, managing an operating budget of $5 billion. He has been superintendent of the San Antonio Independent School District in Texas, with 48,000 students, since 2015. Chicago had more than 340,000 student enrollment last year.

    He replaces interim CEO Jose Torres, who was named after Janice Jackson resigned in June.

    Guilford Superintendent Receives Extension

    Superintendent Sharon Contreras won praise and an extra two years on her contract—now in effect to June 30, 2025—from the Guilford County Board of Education. She has led the school system since 2016. 

    In a statement, vice chairperson Winston McGregor said Contreras and her leadership team “have kept GCS running at a very high capacity, throughout these difficult days and months.” 

    In its news release, the board noted that Contreras set up learning hubs and “high-dosage” tutoring programs in the early months of the pandemic. A $300 million bond campaign that won strong voter support also drew praise for Contreras from the board. 

    Interim Leaders Named in Palm Beach & Broward

    Mike Burke was named interim superintendent of the School District of Palm Beach County in Florida. Burke previously was the district’s chief financial officer, overseeing a $3.8 billion annual budget. As CFO, Burke ran the district’s financial management and information technology divisions. He joined the district more than two decades ago and will succeed Donald Fennoy.

    In 2014, Burke received the Bill Wise Award for his leadership from the Council of the Great City Schools at its annual conference of chief financial officers.

    In Broward County Public Schools in Florida, Vickie Cartwright has been named interim superintendent as the school board pursues a national search for a permanent schools chief following the departure of Robert Runcie.

    Cartwright resigned her post as superintendent of schools in Oshkosh, Wis., in March. With her new posting, she returns to Florida: She previously rose to deputy superintendent in the Orange County Public Schools in Orlando, where she worked for 17 years in various positions.

    The Broward County board stipulated earlier that the interim chief would not be eligible for the permanent post. Cartwright is expected to serve six months to one year.

    Pittsburgh Superintendent Resigns

    Anthony Hamlet, who has led Pittsburgh Public Schools since 2016, recently resigned from the 21,603-student school district.

    Under his leadership, the school district expanded career and technical education, increased the number of counselors and social workers and experienced higher graduation rates. Before coming to Pittsburgh, Hamlet was an administrator with Florida’s School District of Palm Beach County, where he served as the director of recruitment and retention as well as the director of school accountability transformation, overseeing 25 low-performing schools.