Thomas W. Payzant is currently a professor of practice at the Harvard Graduate School of Education. Prior to that, he served as superintendent of the Boston Public Schools from October of 1995 until his retirement in June of 2006. Before coming to Boston, Dr. Payzant was appointed by President Clinton to serve as assistant secretary for elementary and secondary education at the U.S. Department of Education.
Over the past decade, Dr. Payzant has led a number of significant systemic reform efforts that have helped narrow the achievement gap and increase student performance on both state and national assessment exams. In addition to his tenure in Boston, he has served as superintendent of schools in San Diego; Oklahoma City; Eugene, Oregon; and Springfield, Pennsylvania.
Dr. Payzant's work has been recognized by educators at the regional and national levels. In 1998, he was named Massachusetts Superintendent of the Year. In 2004, he received the Richard R. Green Award for Excellence in Urban Education from the Council on Great City Schools. Governing Magazine also named Dr. Payzant one of eight “Public Officials of the Year” in 2005. He also received the McGraw Prize for his leadership of the San Diego school system from 1982 through 1993.
Throughout his career, Dr. Payzant has not only kept abreast of the professional and research literature, but he has contributed to it regularly—a remarkable achievement for the leader of a major urban school system. His essays, book chapters, book prefaces, and book reviews have been directed to both professional educators and policymakers. His curriculum vitae lists fifty-two publications published between 1967 and 2007.
Dr. Payzant earned his EdD from Harvard University.