Former Seattle Schools chief Maria Goodloe-Johnson is the top academic officer at a newly established district mostly for Detroit's failing schools, while former CFO Don Kennedy is the interim operations chief in Bridgeport, Conn.
A year after a financial scandal rocked Seattle Public Schools, the two top officials fired in its aftermath have landed lucrative administrative jobs in high-profile school districts.
And despite the controversy that has followed former Superintendent Maria Goodloe-Johnson to Michigan and her former chief financial officer Don Kennedy to Connecticut, they have the support of their new bosses, according to media reports.
Goodloe-Johnson is the top academic officer for the Education Achievement System, a newly established district focusing mostly on Detroit’s failing schools. It’s led by John Covington, a former Kansas City schools chief.
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Kennedy is temporarily running business and facilities functions for Bridgeport Public Schools, a closely scrutinized district being led on an interim basis by Paul Vallas, who formerly served as superintendent in Chicago, Philadelphia and New Orleans.
Goodloe-Johnson’s new job, called deputy chancellor for instructional support and educational accountability, pays a $200,000 annual base salary. Her salary in Seattle was $264,000.
Kennedy is earning $900 per day as interim chief operations officer in Bridgeport.
Neither official could be reached for comment. Spokespeople for the districts did not return telephone messages.
The pair worked together in Seattle for about 3 1/2 years. Goodloe-Johnson, who had worked with Kennedy at her former district in Charleston, S.C., brought him on a few months after starting here in July 2007.
Both received large severance packages on their way out.
While Kennedy has been at his new job since late January, he more recently attracted significant public attention in that area. The Connecticut Post published an article Thursday examining the hire.
“I am satisfied this guy is fine. Don is the best,” Vallas told The Post.
The story, under the headline “Vallas stands behind COO fired in Seattle,” is similar to an article published by The Detroit News in December, soon after Goodloe-Johnson was hired.
That piece, with the headline “Top EAS staffer faces scrutiny over ouster,” included a quote from Keith Johnson, president of the Detroit teachers union, who said of Goodloe-Johnson’s hiring: “It begs the question: Does Detroit settle for anything?”
Charlie Mas, a Seattle parent, blogger and district watchdog, noted Goodloe-Johnson and Kennedy each has extensive connections with those involved in the Broad Superintendents Academy, a school-administrator preparation program with ties to the so-called “education reform” movement.
“Both Dr. Goodloe-Johnson and Mr. Kennedy had big, strong networks full of Broad Foundation people who would be proud to hire them,” Mas said. “They are seen as martyrs to their cause.”
Brian M. Rosenthal: 206-464-3195 or email@example.com. On Twitter @brianmrosenthal.