Thomas Payzant Named HGSE Senior Lecturer
Posted April 26, 2006
Cambridge, MA -- April 26, 2006 -- Boston Public Schools
Superintendent Thomas W. Payzant has been named a senior lecturer at
the Harvard Graduate School of Education. Payzant, who holds master's
and doctoral degrees from HGSE, will begin his new post on July 1.
"It is hard to imagine an individual who would bring more significant
and appropriate professional experience to the Harvard Graduate School
of Education than Superintendent Payzant," said Dean Kathleen
McCartney. "It is a great pleasure to welcome one of our most accomplished
graduates back to campus to share his wealth of experience with our
At HGSE, Payzant will focus his time with students and faculty interested
in urban school district reform; leadership; and ways to connect research,
policy, and practice in urban school districts.
"I began my career as an educator when [Former Dean] Ted Sizer
convinced me to apply to the M.A.T. program at HGSE," said Payzant,
who came to the Harvard Graduate School of Education after graduating
from Williams College in 1962. "It is a privilege and an exciting
opportunity to return to HGSE more than 40 years after my journey as
an educator began to teach those who aspire to careers in education."
Payzant has served as superintendent of the Boston Public Schools since
October of 1995. Over the past decade he has led a number of significant
reform efforts that have helped narrow the achievement gap and increase
student performance on both state and national assessment exams. Specifically,
from 2003–2005 Boston's fourth- and eighth-grade students have
shown the largest improvement in math scores of the 11 major cities
participating in the National Assessment of Educational Progress Trial
Urban District Assessment.
"Over the past 11 years, Tom Payzant has provided unparalleled
leadership in turning around the BPS, to the point that it is recognized
as a national model for urban education reform in this country,"
said Boston School Committee Chair Elizabeth Reilinger. "Tom is
unique in that he understands the theoretical, research, and policy
perspectives on urban education, yet is masterful in designing and executing
practices that result in improved teaching and learning in the classroom,
at the school and at the district level. He will be an asset to Harvard,
and we hope to draw on his experience and wisdom as we accelerate our
efforts for education reform in Boston."
Payzant's work has been recognized by educators at the regional and
national level. In 1998, he was named Massachusetts Superintendent of
the Year. In 2004, he received the Richard R. Green Award for Excellence
in Urban Education from the Council on Great City Schools. And Governing
Magazine named Payzant one of eight "Public Officials of the
Year" in 2005. Payzant also received the McGraw Prize for his
leadership of the San Diego school system from 1982 through 1993.
"I know of no current or recently retired big city superintendent
that comes close to Tom in reputation, breadth of experience, knowledge
of literature, and quality of administrative skills," said Marshall
Smith, program director at the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation.
Prior to serving as superintendent in Boston, Payzant served as assistant
secretary for elementary and secondary education in the Clinton administration.
Among other achievements in this role, Payzant garnered bipartisan support
for guiding the Improving America's Schools Act through the legislative
Speaking about Payzant's work at the U.S. Department of Education,
Secretary Richard J. Riley noted that "history no doubt will recognize
Dr. Tom Payzant's transformative contribution to federal education policy
Throughout his career, Payzant has not only kept abreast of the professional
and research literature, he has contributed to it regularly--a
remarkable achievement for the leader of a major urban school system.
His essays, book chapters, book prefaces, and book reviews have been
directed to both professional educators and policymakers. His curriculum
vitae lists 51 publications between 1967 and 2005.
Payzant has remained close to the Harvard Graduate School of Education
throughout his career. As Boston superintendent, he has mentored six
students from HGSE's Urban Superintendents Program during their extended
internships. In addition, Payzant has been closely involved in HGSE's
Conant Fellowship program which provides one-year of tuition at HGSE
to teachers working in Boston and Cambridge public schools.