President and CEO, Digital Promise
Jean-Claude Brizard is the President and CEO of Digital Promise. In his most recent role at the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, he served as a Senior Advisor leading the US Program’s P-16 Community Investment Team in their effort to more deeply understand a student’s journey from preschool through completion of a post-secondary credential. He also served as Deputy Director for the Washington State Strategy within the Pacific Northwest team, supporting partners to close the racial and economic opportunity gaps in Washington State’s educational system and supporting the growth and sustainability of the public charter schools sector in Washington state.
Prior, he was a Senior Fellow – Strategy, Planning and Management at the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation where he focused on supporting the execution of a local proof point to close the achievement and opportunity gaps in the Pacific Northwest region of the United States as well as advising the K-12 team on their new strategy. He was a Partner at FourPoint Education Group (formerly Cross & Joftus, LLC) where he was focused on two practice areas – a unique collaborative structure that supported the work of many state departments of education and public school districts as they sought to turnaround chronically failing school systems as well as a practice area focused on education to career.
Mr. Brizard spent the 2013 calendar year as an advisor to the leadership of College Board developing the organization’s career readiness initiative. This engagement culminated in a strategic plan for integrating career readiness into the College Board’s mission and a special supplement that was published as part of the 45th edition of the PDK/Gallup Poll of the Public’s Attitudes Toward the Public Schools. He is the former Chief Executive of Chicago Public Schools. Prior to his appointment in Chicago, he was Superintendent of Schools for the Rochester, NY School District.
Under Mr. Brizard’s leadership, both the Chicago Public Schools and the Rochester City School District saw substantial improvements in student performance. He introduced a comprehensive change agenda across the Chicago Public Schools, including closing a significant budget gap of more than $1.3B over two fiscal years while preserving core reforms and investing in classrooms. He developed a new framework for teaching and the system saw record increases in student achievement, graduation rates and on college readiness benchmarks. He created a Blueprint for reform that will continue to serve as roadmap for years to come.
Mr. Brizard’s experience also includes a 21-year career as an educator and administrator with the NYC Department of Education. He served as a Regional Superintendent, supervising more than 100 schools in the Borough of Brooklyn and he also served as the system’s Executive Director for secondary schools. Jean-Claude serves as a National Trustee of the Chicago Field Museum of Natural History, serves on the boards of Education Forward DC, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, the National Council on Teacher Quality, Rocketship Public Schools, and was the founding Board Chair of Anseye Pou Ayiti/Teach for Haiti. He is a Fellow of the Broad Center, a Fellow of the third class of the Pahara-Aspen Institute Education Fellowship, and a member of the Aspen Institute Global Leadership Network.
A commercial pilot, Mr. Brizard credits his parents—both of whom were educators—with inspiring him to pursue a career in education. He holds a Master’s Degree with honors in School Administration & Supervision, a Master’s Degree in Science Education as well as a Bachelor’s Degree in Chemistry from the City University of New York/Queens College.
He is married to Dr. K. Brooke Stafford-Brizard and is the proud father of four beautiful children.