Original Date: 
Mon, 2009-06-08

Contact:          Michelle Wade, Director of Communications
W (203) 946-8450  C (203) 675-5132
NEW HAVEN – At this evening’s Board of Education meeting, Mr. Garth Harries was approved to take on the newly created position of Assistant Superintendent for Portfolio and Performance Management for the New Haven Public Schools.
Mr. Harries has worked at the New York City Department of Education since 2003, spending much of that time leading the City's effort to build new small schools in low-performing neighborhoods. The graduation rates for the first two senior classes at these schools were more than 75 percent-compared to 62 percent in the City as a whole.  Since February 2009, Mr. Harries has acted as Senior Coordinator for Special Education, reviewing practices throughout the system in order to develop more effective ways to build on recent progress made by special education students.
Based on his success in NYC with school reform, Mayor John DeStefano, Jr. and Dr. Reginald Mayo, Superintendent of Schools, reached out to Harries to engage him in the possibility of joining the New Haven Public School team as the lead in moving the district from incremental to exponential success.
In this new position, Harries will take a thorough look at the needs in all schools in the district and create school specific intervention plans to address those needs.  The plan is to build a portfolio style management system in order to significantly increase the academic performance in the entire district.
“This appointment indicates our commitment to the students in this school district.  I look forward to working with Mr. Harries and benefiting from his knowledge and proven success in school reform”, said Dr. Mayo.
From the beginning, his work will be focused on bringing all New Haven Public Schools to or above the state average goal on the achievement tests.  This will require honest assessment and tough decisions about how to implement a school-based management model, achieve and maintain the highest quality of teachers, and determination how best to address the lowest performing schools, be it closing them and reopening them as local charter schools or implementing other improvements to enhance educational opportunities for its students.
“No one should mistake our intent to make the New Haven district the best urban district in the country.  Our kids deserve it and it is essential to the future of the city” Mayor DeStefano said. “There will be change and I would hope everyone is open to change that will help us achieve our goals.”
This is a first and immensely important step by the City of New Haven and the New Haven Board of Education on a critical path toward ensuring that all New Haven Public Schools achieving at and above state average and making sure all students are prepared to graduate, go on to college, succeed in life and exercise their full potential.
Said Harries, "I am thrilled to be joining Dr. Mayo's team.  The district has laid a strong and successful foundation, and has begun to lay down an exciting path for further improvements.  I am humbled to be part of it, and look forward to working with many others in and out of the classroom to make New Haven a beacon of highly successful public schools."
Before his six year tenure at the New York City Department of Education, Harries worked in the financial services industry for McKinsey & Company (NY), for the Philadelphia Empowerment Zone directing economic development projects for disadvantaged neighborhoods in Philadelphia, as Field Coordinator for the Pennsylvania Democratic Coordinated Campaign and as a 10th grade History and 9th and 10th grade math teacher at Vail Mountain School in Colorado.  He holds undergraduate degree in Ethics, Politics and Economics from Yale University and a Juris Doctorate from Stanford Law School.