Joel's Open Road

  • INTERVIEWED BY:

    Southern Route

  • INTERVIEW LOCATION:

    New York, NY

  • AIRED ON:

    Public Television: Season 2

  • ON DVD:

JOEL KLEIN

Chancellor
New York City Schools

“It's very hard to get up day in and day out and not be excited about what you're doing; so, I guess because of that, I've been willing to take some strange curves and detours in the road.”

INTERESTS:

Education

THEMES DISCUSSED:

Culture Inspiration Transitions Fulfillment

FOUNDATION:

Teaching / Mentoring

TAGS:

comfort, cross examination, john kennedy, law, rewarding, satisfaction, security, social change, victory, vision

BIOGRAPHY:

  • Says he went “from public housing to the West Wing in the White House.”
  • If it wasn’t for his education, his poor childhood in Queens could’ve steered him in a vastly different direction.
  • As a child, his father would take him to watch public trials; he was exhilarated by the snappy cross-examinations.
  • When he was 13, he heard John F. Kennedy’s famous, “Ask not what your country can do for you; ask what you can do for your country” speech.
  • That speech inspired his life’s practices, influenced his decision to go to law school.
  • After law school, he was a clerk for U.S. Supreme Court Justice Lewis Powell.
  • From there, he joined the Clinton Administration, working in the Department of Justice; infamously prosecuted “Goliath,” aka Microsoft.
  • Made the switch from law to education because he feels overhauling the system is the fight he’s been training for all his life.

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