Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn has selected the superintendent of schools in Bridgeport, Connecticut as his running mate in 2014.
Paul Vallas is the former Chicago schools CEO and a 2002 gubernatorial candidate. He said he will not leave his Bridgeport post immediately, but will work with the new school board as it searches for a new superintendent.
"Departing the Bridgeport Public Schools is not an easy decision, but I am completely aware that the new board, elected just this week by Bridgeport voters to guide the system in coming years, has desire to work with a superintendent of its own choosing. Having the ability to make that choice will unify the board and give it greater investment in the new Superintendent's success," Vallas said in a statement.
Quinn, a Chicago Democrat, announced Vallas as his pick in an email Friday.
Quinn said he's known Vallas for 30 years and "he's never been shy about fighting for education, reform and opportunities for working people."
Vallas has been fighting to keep his Bridgeport job in a court battle waged by his critics.
Vallas ran Chicago Public Schools from 1995 until 2001.
He lost the Democratic nomination for governor in 2002 to Rod Blagojevich Vallas then was superintendent of schools in Philadelphia and New Orleans.
“There’s no question that substantial improvements to our school system have been made while Paul Vallas has been at the helm. With my office and the Board of Education leadership working together we have made great strides – high school seniors have access to college course work; we’ve opened five new schools and effectively doubled the number of high schools in one year; we’ve balanced two school budgets, and we’ve provided every high school student with a laptop computer. This is a very wonderful opportunity for Paul, and I wish him luck as he joins Pat Quinn’s ticket as the candidate for lieutenant governor in his home state of Illinois,” Mayor Bill Finch said in a statement.
Quinn's current lieutenant governor, Sheila Simon, is running for comptroller next year.