CHICAGO, Oct. 12 (UPI) -- Jean Claude Brizard, Chicago Public Schools chief executive officer, was permanently replaced by the system's head education officer, the mayor's office said.
Spokeswoman Sara Hamilton said Mayor Rahm Emanuel and Brizard, who led school system since April 2011, agreed Thursday it would be best if Brizard left, the Chicago Tribune reported.
"J.C. [Brizard] spoke with [School Board President] David Vitale and the mayor and said, 'I'm becoming a distraction. This is becoming more about me than it is about our mission to help the kids,'" Hamilton said.
Brizard confirmed to the Tribune his departure was a "mutual agreement" and that he approached Emanuel and the school board after he became aware of "rumors" that the mayor was displeased.
Barbara Byrd-Bennett, a former CEO in the Cleveland school system who was the Chicago system's interim chief education officer, took over Brizard's post, Hamilton said.
Speculation about Brizard's impending departure had quickened during a seven-day teachers' strike and negotiations with the Chicago Teachers Union, the Tribune said.
"I have to tell you it's a little bit of melancholy and mixed emotions because I've come to love the people who work in CPS," Brizard told the Tribune. "I love to work with kids ... . [That's] more important to me that keeping a job. This is stressful but at the same time it's about the city."
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