Tuesday night, the Cleveland Board of Education voted to extend Eric S. Gordon's contract as Chief Executive Officer through June 2015. Gordon previously served CMSD as its Chief Academic Officer from 2007 to 2011. After a national search produced three finalists from outside the district in its search for a CEO last year, the Board by-passed the top candidates for CEO and awarded a one-year contract to Gordon in June, 2011.
At the time, Mayor Frank G. Jackson and Board Chair Denise Link stated that Gordon, more than any candidate in the national search, had demonstrated the requisite academic and leadership skills needed to carry the District forward in the second year of its 5-year Academic Transformation Plan.
In his first year as CEO, Gordon championed system-wide reforms and worked closely with Mayor Jackson, teachers, citizens and legislators to remove contractual and legal barriers that prevented CMSD from bringing transformation to scale in Cleveland. After months of advocacy in Cleveland and in Columbus, Governor John Kasich will sign Cleveland's Plan for Transforming Schools into law in early July.
"We are pleased with the work Eric Gordon has done in his first year as CEO," said Link. "We are grateful for the groundwork he has laid to provide high-performing schools in every neighborhood, and we are confident he is the right leader at the right time in Cleveland."
In line with Gordon's commitment to academic and fiscal accountability, the CEO's $230,000 salary, already $46,000 less than that of his predecessor, will be cut an additional $2,700 in July. The CEO will also pay an additional 5% in contributions to health care, as he joins top administrators in making additional concessions in pay and benefits in the coming school year.
Gordon's 3-year salary and benefits package will extend the CEO's own requested "no frills" agreement with the Board that, last year, eliminated annuity payments, retirement pickups, car allowance, a driver and other perks for Cleveland's CEO.
Before the 6-1 vote to extend Gordon's contract, Board member Patricia Crutchfield asked to hold off on approval of the CEO's contract, pending release of graduation rates in August. Two other members, Iris Rodriguez and Eric Wobser, were absent.