A promotion at North Avenue
Laura Weeldreyer, a city schools administrator who has overseen charter schools and most recently served as executive director of new initiatives, was named Dr. Alonso's deputy chief of staff last night. The position has been empty since Patricia Abernethy left in July to become chief academic officer in Baltimore County. Alonso's chief of staff is still Gen. Bennie E. Williams.
Weeldreyer is one of the most responsive administrators I've met in my time covering the city schools. A father whose daughter dropped out of high school and is far behind on credits has copied me on e-mails with system officials in the past few weeks as he's tried to re-enroll her. He ran into several bureaucratic hurdles before connecting with Weeldreyer, who has been working hard to resolve a messy situation: providing the family with her cell phone number, offering to personally escort the girl to tour a new school, and making several calls on her behalf. In one of the e-mails, the father wrote to Weeldreyer: "While this has been a very frustrating experience, your concern and immediate reaction to this problem is greatly appreciated... I believe you care about these children based on our conversation."