GOV. MALLOY ANNOUNCES SELECTION OF STEFAN PRYOR AS COMMISSIONER OF DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION;
PRAISES CHOICE OF A "TURNAROUND LEADER"
(HARTFORD, CT) - Governor Dannel P. Malloy today announced the selection of Stefan Pryor to be the new Commissioner of the State Department of Education, and praised the choice of a "turnaround leader" by the State Board of Education. Pryor headed the education department at the Partnership for New York City, a leading business/civic organization, and co-founded New Haven's Amistad Academy, an acclaimed public charter school. He is currently the Deputy Mayor for Economic Development in the City of Newark, New Jersey, and was previously the President of the Lower Manhattan Development Corporation, the post-September 11th rebuilding agency.
"Stefan Pryor is the whole package," said Governor Malloy. "His experience working as a turnaround leader in the economic development arena, combined with his leadership on education issues, will help him turn the Department of Education into an agency that helps prepare our state's children for whichever path they may choose. Stefan acknowledges, understands and has worked to combat the achievement gap that exists in our state, and I know he'll continue to do that in this role. I've been clear that next year, I'd like to focus a great deal of the legislative session on issues of education, and I'm glad Stefan will be at the helm of this agency to help me."
"There are certainly bright spots, best practices, excellent schools and exemplary districts throughout Connecticut. However, too many of our young people are not yet reaching their potential," said Pryor. "If we join together - parents and teachers, schools and communities, labor leaders and business leaders - we can respond to this problem with real and sustained urgency. Working with Governor Malloy, the State Board of Education, and the General Assembly, we can create a true mandate for change. I am honored to return to Connecticut to pursue this mission."
As Deputy Mayor for Economic Development in Newark, Pryor is responsible for economic development, workforce development, housing, and city planning. Pryor also serves as the Chairman of the Brick City Development Corporation, Newark's economic development organization, which he helped to found. Over the past five years, Newark has experienced an uptrend in development. The city has attracted new corporate tenants. In the course of this year alone, Newark is undertaking over 25 construction projects, resulting in over 2 million square feet of new or renovated space, including a major project called Teachers Village will provide 224 units of housing for public school teachers, facilities for a day care center and three charter schools as well as significant retail space in Newark's downtown. Pryor's team has also overhauled Newark's underperforming workforce development system, created an award-winning prisoner reentry program, and operated an annual summer youth employment program that this year offered jobs to 1,500 students at over 100 work sites across the city.
From 1998-2001, Pryor served as the Vice President for Education at the Partnership for New York City, where he led the organization's public education efforts and served as Executive Director of its main school reform program. The Partnership's work focused on attracting philanthropic funding to lower-performing NYC public school districts in order to introduce a range of innovations - including performance measurement and compensation, lead teacher programs (appointing master teachers to serve as mentors to their peers), principal signing bonuses for hard-to-staff/low-performing schools, and low-cost mortgages for educators.
In the mid-1990's, Pryor served as a policy advisor to the Mayor of New Haven on issues ranging from housing and community development to education. While in New Haven, Pryor co-founded and served as the first Board President of Amistad Academy, a high-performing public charter school that now serves as the flagship for the Achievement First network of schools. Pryor served on the board of Achievement First, which has opened 20 academies under 10 charters in Connecticut and New York. Amistad Academy was highlighted by the U.S. Department of Education in 2007 as one of seven schools in the country that are models for closing the achievement gap.
In recent years, Pryor has collaborated with Paul Vallas (the former school superintendent of Chicago, Philadelphia, and the New Orleans Recovery School District) regarding plans for school rebuilding and reform in post-disaster Haiti. Pryor also served as an advisor to the International Rescue Committee regarding the economic recovery in Haiti.
The child of two public school teachers, Pryor received his bachelor's degree in psychology and law degree from Yale University, where he completed the Yale Teacher Preparation Program.
For Immediate Release: September 7, 2011
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