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Baltimore City Schools Introduces Its New CEO, Dr. Gregory Thornton

BALTIMORE (WJZ)—The search for the Baltimore City Schools CEO is over. On Tuesday, the school board and the mayor introduced the new superintendent to the public.

Derek Valcourt has more on Dr. Gregory Thornton and what parents are saying.

Thornton comes from a school system of similar size and he comes at a time of critical change.

Thornton will leave his job of nearly four years as superintendent of Milwaukee Public Schools to take the helm of Baltimore schools this summer.

"I love Baltimore. I love Milwaukee, but this is coming home. I get a chance to come home and finish a dream that we started many, many years ago," Thornton said.

Thornton grew up in nearby Philadelphia and during his career worked as deputy superintendent of Montgomery County Schools. He will now fill the position left vacant by former schools CEO Dr. Andres Alonso, who stepped down in May after six years on the job.

The city school board chose Thornton after a nationwide search for the person who will implement an unprecedented $1.1 billion plan to build some new school buildings and upgrade and modernize others.

"Given his experience across the nation in a variety of types of school districts and his experience in a massive facilities plan, it seemed like the right choice," said Dr. Shanaysha Sauls, school board chair.

Thornton says one of his goals will be accelerating student achievement through new reforms and standards.

"I'm encouraged by what he said that his first priority was increasing student achievement at a faster pace. I'm there. I'm on board with that," said Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake.

Though Thornton is an unknown to parents, many expect him to get right to work.

"I don't know why everybody keep hiring everybody from out of town, though, instead of getting people from the city that got experience with dealing with the city," one man said.

"The schools is run down. There's no books. There's no activities for children to do. I expect him to fix some of that," said Yolanda Pulley, parent.

Thornton is expected to begin his new job in July. The details of his salary and contract are still being worked out.

WJZ's media partner, The Baltimore Sun, reports Thornton was up for the CEO position in 2007,  but the school board chose to hire Alonso instead.

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