Photo courtesy of the Boston Public Schools
Photo courtesy of the Boston Public Schools

We’re excited to congratulate Boston’s newly named school superintendent, Tommy Chang. He supports early education and creative instructional efforts that draw on local resources.

“I think he is a quiet visionary,” Michael O’Neill, chair of the Boston School Committee, told the Boston Globe.

“Dr. Chang will provide the leadership that our school system needs, and I am confident that his innovative views on education will move our students forward,” Boston Mayor Marty Walsh said. “We need a transformative leader, and that is Tommy Chang.”

The Globe adds, “Chang, 39, has been working for the last three years with more than 130 low-achieving schools as an instructional superintendent in the Los Angeles Unified School District’s Intensive Support and Innovation Center.

“With his experience in the country’s second-largest school district, Chang has gained a reputation for a quick mind, collaborative approach, and a strong conviction that schools should have the flexibility to experiment.”

Last week, in an interview with the Globe, Chang said he supports early education and care.

Chang provided “what might be a preview of his plans, saying he supports expanding pre-kindergarten classes, providing mainstream education for students with disabilities, and overhauling troubled high schools.”

The Globe adds: “Chang also signaled he is not big on top-down mandates, noting that the makeup and academic needs can vary tremendously school to school. Instead, he talked enthusiastically about giving schools more freedom in making decisions on staffing, curriculum, and spending — and said the School Department should play a supportive role.”

“It’s not about ensuring every school teaches the same thing at the same time. There is no perfect curriculum. Context matters,” Chang himself said. “The work has to be owned by the school community.”

In an interview with WBUR, Chang summed up his goals, saying, “I want to see the needle move on student achievement.”

What is Chang’s view of education’s future? Last year, he was asked where Los Angeles’ schools could be in a decade’s time. His answer appears in the Magazine of Loyola Marymount University (where Chang earned his doctorate in educational leadership):

“Progress would be something radically different. I went through a really fun exercise with my kids: We Googled ‘schools in 1800s,’ ‘schools in 1900,’ and for 2000. What we saw was that so little has changed. Over the next 10 years, I’d love to see the experience of adults and kids in our schools revolutionized. If our schools look like the workplaces of Google or Facebook, that would be amazing, or like college campuses. That’s where we want to get to. They should not look like the schools and classrooms of 100 years ago.”

To read Chang’s bio and his application to become superintendent, go to the Boston Public Schools’ website.

And be sure to reach out to Tommy Chang. He’s planning to go on a listening tour around Boston; and he is active on social media. Follow him on Twitter @SuptChang.