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Cathie Black: Ex-Hearst Chief to Head New York City Schools

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Cathie Black has got a waiver from the state's education commissioner David M. Steiner. This clears the way for the former Chairwoman of Hearst Magazines to serve as Chancellor of the New York City Department of Education.

The job is among the nation's most coveted education jobs. The Chancellor-designate faced opposition from teachers union and top officials from the school district because she has no experience in the education sector. She has never even held a teaching job. This is why the waiver came as a surprise to many people because Steiner's advisory panel on the issue had recommended that he deny her the waiver for the job.

Black succeeds Joel Klein as the chancellor. Black's nomination was approved by Commissioner Steiner on the condition that she also has a No.2 with her to train her for the job. That job goes to Shael Polakow-Suransky who is now to serve as a senior deputy chancellor and chief academic officer. He is a former teacher and was a key member Joel Klein's administration. Black has spent her entire career in the publishing industry where she worked with now New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg. Bloomberg recommended her for the Chancellor position saying that she would bring a fresh approach to the issues facing New York City's schools.

Black spent the first morning after her approval by touring a school in the South Bronx where she read to first-graders. She also gave a speech telling the students to believe in themselves. At the school, PS 109, she posed with some of the parents and students who had gathered to see her. The reporters gathered there wanted to know of her plans for the 1.1 million students and 135,000 educators in New York City's schools.

Cathie Black comes from a background that is quite different from the top school job that she now has in New York City. She has previously held a string of high profile jobs in the publishing industry. She initially worked with Holiday magazine and then joined USA Today in 1983. She later went on to be its president and publisher. From 1991-1996 she was President and CEO of Newspaper Association of America. In 1996 she became President of Hearst Magazines and later Chairwoman. She has written a book called Basic Black: The Essential Guide for Getting Ahead at Work (and in Life) which is a motivational guide aimed at women in the workplace.

The book was a bestseller on New York Times and is currently in its eighth printing. She has been called the ''First Lady of American Magazines'' because she oversees around 20 magazines with over 200 international editions of those magazines. Black is also a member of the boards for Coca-Cola Company and IBM as well as the Advertising Council. She is one of the trustees for the University of Notre Dame. Black is a graduate of Trinity College of the class of 1966.
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