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Turnaround Superintendent Extends His Reach

Paul Vallas, currently the interim superintendent of the Bridgeport, Conn. school district and former schools chief in New Orleans, Philadelphia and Chicago, heads a consulting group that just landed a contract to reform struggling districts in Illinois.

Crain's Chicago Business reported the news Tuesday. According to the article, the Vallas Group received approval from the Illinois Board of Education to coordinate interventions in low-performing school districts. The contract will be for $311,250 in its first year, with the option of two one-year renewals for $319,375 each.

The Chicago article didn't quote Vallas, but in a story in the Connecticut Post, he explained that his multitasking was understood by the officials who hired him.

"This is part of what I do," Vallas said. He wouldn't name the school districts or the other principals in the group. They all have worked with him in some capacity in Illinois. None are working in Bridgeport, he said.

He said his role will be to provide guidance and direction.

"My role is going to be modest. It is going to be more supervisory," he said. "That project will not detract from my work here. I am not going anywhere."

The Post article also noted that Vallas is in talks to extend his stay in Bridgeport beyond January 2013. Board member Robert Trefry told the newspaper that the leadership does not want to leave a "void" in the 23,000-student district.

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