Harold Levy, RIP
I opened the paper to read in the obituaries that Harold Levy had died. I got to know Harold during the early years when I chaired MOUSE. I always loved his spirit, optimism and unrelenting focus on education after spending years in the corporate world at Citibank.
He was the Chancellor of the New York City School system from 2000-2002. He dug in the moment he got there to change the overwhelming bureaucracy that had been paralyzing the school system for decades. A school system with 1.1 million students filled with a myriad of faces of different backgrounds and a $13b annual budget. Not an easy undertaking to change. I believe that Harold’s passion started the change that was needed and began over two decades ago.
After he left his job at Chancellor, he continued in the world of education going on to join Kaplan, then Palm Ventures where he invested in education and then on to the Jack Kemp Cooke Foundation awarding scholarships to underserved kids.
I saw Harold a few years ago. He was very open about the horrific disease he found himself with, Lou Gehrig’s, MLS. Regardless, he was still happy to talk with a big smile on his face.
This picture above was in the obituary in the NYTimes. It captures Harold’s twinkle in his eye and enthusiasm about kids and their education. Even in his last days, he wrote an OpEd titled How To Level the College Playing Field. Above all, Harold was true NYer who cared about making his city a better place for everyone through the most important thing we can give anyone….an education.