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Distinguished Educator calls leaving Rochester "bittersweet"

Jun 6, 2019

Distinguished Educator Jaime Aquino at Rochester City School District Headquarter
Credit James Brown WXXI

At the urging of  New York State Education Commissioner MaryEllen Elia, City School District state-appointed Distinguished Educator Jaime Aquino spoke to the media on Wednesday, to wrap things up before his time in Rochester is over.

“I think the commissioner was right for me have this opportunity to really thank the community because a lot of them went out of their way to share really personal confidential stories that I gave voice to in my report,” said Aquino.

Aquino was hired as Distinguished Educator last summer by Elia to compile a report that documented the failings of Rochester’s troubled city schools. He analyzed the district’s climate, financial situation, educational outcomes and more.

Aquino provided 84 recommendations that the district is expected to submit revised responses to later this week. He resigned Friday nearly two months before the end of his contract.

He called leaving the district "bittersweet." Aquino said that he never intended to stay beyond his one-year contract but had conversations with State Education Commissioner MaryEllen Elia about a possible extension after his last public meeting in Rochester in late March.

He said he’s leaving this week because of personal reasons, including a death in his family. He also wants to get out of the way of incoming Superintendent Terry Dade.

“I think I’ve built really strong social capital in the city of Rochester and I didn’t want to be perceived as a shadow superintendent,” said Aquino.

Aquino would not give his opinion on whether the state education department should take over the district or whether another Distinguished Educator will be appointed. He said he has multiple job offers available to him, but he’s taking time to reflect and deal with personal issues.