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Receiver Named For Lawrence Schools

A Boston school official has been named by the state to oversee the troubled Lawrence school system.

Jeffrey Riley was appointed on Wednesday by Massachusetts Education Commissioner Mitchell Chester to serve as receiver for the Lawrence schools, a post that was created when the state board of education voted in November to take control of the district.

Riley currently serves as chief innovation officer for the Boston schools. From 2007-2009, he was principal of the Clarence R. Edwards Middle School, where he was credited with turning around one of Boston's lowest performing schools.

"Jeff just led an incredible transformation of that institution from one that had the some of the lowest results — if not the lowest results — in the city of Boston to one that had some of the highest results, not only in Boston but across the state as a whole," Chester said.

The Lawrence teachers' union describes Riley as a well-respected innovator.

Riley will earn just under $200,000 as receiver for the Lawrence school district with all the powers of the superintendent and elected school committee.

"The reforms that lie ahead will not be painless," Riley said Wednesday. "Lawrence needs bold change. We must be willing to rethink the current design of the school day and the school year."

The state cited poor student performance, a low graduation rate and ineffective leadership as reasons for receivership.

With reporting by The Associated Press and the WBUR Newsroom

This program aired on January 11, 2012. The audio for this program is not available.

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