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Robert Runcie the new Broward superintendent

A businessman turned educator with strong ties to the Obama administration is Broward’s new schools chief.

The Broward School Board selected Robert Runcie, chief of staff to the Chicago Board of Education, as the district’s new superintendent, the first black man to permanently hold the job.

Runcie, a Harvard-educated computer consultant who was recruited to help clean up Chicago schools after an episode of mismanagement, will now head the nation’s sixth-largest school district.

Touting his experience in running operations in the nation’s third-largest school district, Runcie was chosen over Bernard Taylor Jr., superintendent in Grand Rapids, Mich.

“I’ve kind of fallen in love with Broward,” Runcie told the board Wednesday in a final round of interviews. “Working together, the sky’s the limit in terms of what we can do.”

Runcie has several connections to the Obama Administration. His former boss in Chicago is Arne Duncan, the current U.S. Secretary of Education. In Chicago, the school district must answer to the office of Mayor Rahm Emanuel, who was the previous chief of staff to President Obama.

Duncan, gave Runcie his entry into education, tapping him in 2003 to join his management team as chief information officer. Runcie was charged with bringing order to a technology department marred with delays in installing school computers funded through a federal grant.

More from Laura Figueroa here.

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