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Issue Date: January 2012


Most Interesting People 2012: Eric Gordon

Eric Gordon

Cleveland Metropolitan School District CEO, 41

/ Why he’s interesting / Gordon didn’t take the job as CEO of Cleveland schools to spend taxpayers’ money by being chauffeured around the city — his 2003 Jeep Grand Cherokee (usually) works just fine. Two years ago, he was the main architect of the transformation plan to improve the district of 44,000 students. Now, he has the challenging job of carrying out the plan while also cutting the district’s budget.

/ The Scream doll / “It’s kind of a visual reminder to me of all the things that could distract you from the right work if you’re not careful.” He also has a framed picture in his office of a shark plowing through concrete. “It’s just a reminder of persistently pursuing the right direction.”

/ @EricGordon_CEO / Gordon joined Twitter when a student created the account for him.

/ Top chef / “I love to cook, and actually, I can make some things pretty well. I can do more than just boil water.” One of his favorite dishes to make is a pork chop dish with hot peppers and cream cheese in a red sauce “that gives it both spice and cool at the same time.”

/ A sucker for a twist / He loves books, and his favorites have something in common: “What they have is an unexpected outcome. I like getting the surprise in it.

/ Always ready for a laugh / “I think one thing the kids who have met me would say is I’m not afraid to be embarrassed.” Students from Oliver H. Perry Elementary School learned this. “They pulled out this really tight Flash Gordon T-shirt and hat. They said, ‘I wonder if he’ll put it on?’ Well, I already had my coat halfway off; of course I was putting it on.”


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