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Dear Colleagues,

Today, Chris Cerf is stepping down as Deputy Chancellor for Strategy and Innovation to serve as
a senior policy adviser for Mayor Bloomberg's campaign. Since joining the DOE in 2005 after
serving as president of Edison Schools, Chris has worked tirelessly to help shape and implement
the Children First reforms. He has been an extraordinary leader whose talents spanned many
dimensions of our work. He made outstanding contributions in human resources, including
talent management and labor relations, in innovation, helping to spearhead our ground-breaking
School of One initiative, and in coordinating and leading external relations for the department.
Most recently, he led our successful efforts on mayoral control, where his contribution was truly
enormous. Chris's efforts have made New York City a national and international model for
improving public education. His departure, while a big win for the campaign, is a loss for this
agency and for me personally. Please join me in thanking Chris for all his work on behalf of New
York City's students, teachers, principals, and families.

Thankfully, we have two very talented and accomplished members of our team who are uniquely
qualified to take over Chris's portfolio on an interim basis. John White, currently Chief Executive
Officer of the Office of Portfolio Planning, will serve as the Interim Acting Deputy
Chancellor for Strategy and Innovation. John will now oversee human capital, including human
resources, talent management, and labor relations, and also innovation, including new product
development, research and policy support, and strategic partnerships. Prior to joining the DOE,
John served as the Executive Director of Teach for America — Chicago and Teach for America
— New Jersey. A graduate of the University of Virginia, John began his career as an English
teacher in Jersey City, New Jersey.

Micah Lasher, currently Executive Director of Public Affairs, will serve as the Interim Acting
Executive Director of External Affairs. Micah will now oversee all external relations, including
Public Affairs, Communications, Press, and the Office for Family Engagement and Advocacy,
which will maintain a dual-report to the Chancellor. Micah was instrumental this summer in
leading our efforts in Albany to renew the school governance law. Previously, Micah was an aide
to Congressman Jerrold Nadler and a founding partner of KnickerbockerSKD, one of the city's
leading political and communications consulting firms. He is a graduate of Stuyvesant High
School and New York University.

Debra Kurshan, currently Senior Director of Portfolio Planning, will serve as Interim Director of
the Office of Portfolio Planning. She will oversee all portfolio activities, including the opening
and closing of schools and long-term school portfolio management, reporting to Deputy
Chancellor for Infrastructure and Planning, Kathleen Grimm.

Please join me in wishing Chris Cerf all the best in his new position and congratulating John,
Micah and Debra as they take on their new responsibilities.


Joel I. Klein