Mr. Brizard Comes to Town

It's been 30 days since Mr. Brizard came to our town.

But today, the new Rochester City School Superintendent really found his place in our community.

Over the past month, Jean-Claude Brizard has been spending a lot of time trying to understand the district, and what makes it tick so poorly. He has met stakeholders such as teachers and union leaders, students and their parents, other officials and business people. He has plowed through budgets, performance data, and curriculum. There's no doubt, he's been doing a LOT of homework since taking the job.

He put that all aside today to immerse himself in Brizard: Square One. He began before 7 a.m. at Dr. Freddie Thomas High School, talking off-microphone to students who straightened their jackets and stood a little taller when they spotted him. He conversed easily with Tariq Spence and Liz Medhin on WDKX before facing a crowd of young people from all over the district -- lining up to ask him very candid and intelligent questions. He heard from adults during a noontime radio call-in program, and he'll take more questions in an hour when he comes in for a special edition of Need to Know. In between all that, he called in to talk with WXXI-AM hosts as commuters were heading to and from work.

Today, Mr. Brizard probably answered somewhere in the neighborhood of 150 questions. But thousands of people heard his answers. And so far the feedback has been full of hope -- something that has been missing for a long time.

Welcome to Rochester, Mr. Brizard.



Good Outlook

Mr. Brizard's marathon day of answering questions and interacting with the community is an impressive start. In the past, administrators have found the way to their office and shut the door, trying to work on all of the issues on their own.

A caller to the program last night commented on the area's warm welcome for Mr. Brizard, and mentioned that it is tied to the desparation that is felt in the RCSD. This is true, but it seems Mr. Brizard is up for the hard work that lies ahead of him.

Welcome, and thank you for choosing the RCSD.