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Chris Barbic, head of ASD, recovering after heart attack

Chris Barbic has led the Tennessee Achievement School District since 2011.
Chris Barbic has led the Tennessee Achievement School District since 2011.
J. Zubrzycki

Chris Barbic, the superintendent of the Achievement School District, is recovering from a heart attack suffered Friday, state education officials said today. State officials don’t yet know when Barbic will return to work.“Chris is out of the hospital and recovering well from a heart attack suffered over the weekend,” Elliot Smalley, the district’s chief of staff said in an e-mail. “Doctors say all signs point to recovery and a healthy future, and we expect Chris to return to work as soon as he’s ready.”The ASD’s founding superintendent, Barbic came to Tennessee in 2011 from Houston, where he started YES Prep, a high-performing charter network that has since expanded to Memphis. The state-run district — intended to transform Tennessee’s lowest-performing schools by removing them from the control of local districts and overhauling their staff, programs and governance — now operates 21 schools in Memphis and one in Nashville.The ASD is in the midst of planning for its 2015-16 school year, a process that matches low-performing schools with nonprofit neighborhood charter schools charged with raising academic achievement. The district plans to take over management of nine schools and open two new schools in the coming school year. So far, ASD schools have had mixed results. Smalley said that questions about the ASD could be directed to him until Barbic has returned to his post.“We greatly appreciate the questions about Chris—the outpouring of warmth speaks to Chris’s genuine character, investment in relationships, and commitment to the students, staff, and families of the Achievement School District,” Smalley said. “While he recuperates, we’re asking everyone to please give him and his family privacy.”

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