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Thomas Payzant, who brought stability and advances to BPS, dies, 80

WBUR reports the death of Thomas Payzant, who served as Boston school superintendent from 1995 to 2006, an unusually long period in Boston, during which BPS students saw rising grades after decades of tumult left over from the 1974 busing crisis.

On his retirement in 2006, Education Next reviewed his Boston tenure:

Academic progress in Boston increased steadily under his leadership, with Boston’s 4th and 8th graders handing the 65-year-old Boston native a nice farewell gift by coming out on top in math improvement on the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) 2005 assessments among ten participating urban districts. Boston public school students are also among the top (along with San Diego and New York) in making the most overall progress over the past two years, outperforming students in Atlanta, Cleveland, and Chicago. Boston has a smaller gap than most other urban districts in achievement between white students and black and Hispanic students.

"Tom cared and stood up for all of Boston’s students like they were family," Boston Teachers Union President Jessica Tang said.

Payzant was born in Boston, grew up in Quincy, had his first teaching assignment in Belmont and got his PhD at Harvard, then served in a variety of educational posts across the US - including a stint as undersecretary of education - before returning to Boston.

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a real mensch. R.I.P., Tom.

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