By Steve Jagler Special to Published Sep 16, 2009 at 2:17 PM
Steve Jagler is executive editor of BizTimes.

Imagine the corporate governance of a company in which the employees usually controlled who was named to the firm's board of directors, and the board members then selected the CEO.

Every few years or so, some outside investors would gain majority control of the board, and they'd throw out the last regime's CEO and put a new person into office. And then a couple years later, the employees would regain control of the board and reinstall their best candidate for CEO.

Along the way, each CEO would have a couple years to try some new ideas, priorities and programs that might or might not be in the best interests of the company's customers. But when the new CEO steps in, those ideas, priorities and programs are thrown out, and the cycle starts all over again.

And again.

Is that any way to run a railroad? Or a school district, for that matter?

Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett is attempting to gain control of the oversight of Milwaukee Public Schools (MPS).

Should the mayor be allowed to take over MPS? If so, what would the impact be? How have mayoral takeovers of public schools worked in other cities? What kinds of new ideas from the private sector could be replicated to help MPS improve its results?

The answers to those questions will be among the topics addressed in the Milwaukee Press Club's next Newsmaker Luncheon, headlined, "New Ideas for MPS."

The featured Newsmakers on the panel will include:

  • Susan Marshall, a consultant and founder of Executive Advisor LLC in Oconomowoc. She also is the author of "How to Grow a Backbone." Marshall was contracted by New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg to help implement his takeover of the public schools in New York City. She was on the front lines of the process and will share her insights about lessons learned for Milwaukee.
  • Cory Nettles, founder and managing director of Generation Growth Capital Inc. in Milwaukee. An attorney of counsel at Quarles & Brady, Nettles is the former secretary of commerce for the State of Wisconsin. One of the co-founders of the Milwaukee Quality Education Initiative, Nettles has been active behind the scenes in implementing new ideas for MPS.
  • Paul Sweeney, founding partner at PS Capital Partners LLC in Milwaukee. Sweeney is the president of the Council of Small Business Executives (COSBE) of the Metropolitan Milwaukee Association of Commerce (MMAC). He is a member of MPS Innovation and Improvement Advisory Council, as appointed by Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett, Wisconsin Gov. Jim Doyle and State Superintendent of Public Instruction Elizabeth Burmaster. Sweeney has been exploring new ideas and directions for MPS.

The Newsmakers will answer questions poised by a panel of professional journalists at the luncheon.

The luncheon will take place on Wednesday, Sept. 30, from 11:45 to 1:30 p.m. at the Newsroom Pub in downtown Milwaukee at 137 E. Wells St.

Pre-registration is required. To register or gain additional information, visit or call (262) 894-2224.

Steve Jagler Special to

Steve Jagler is executive editor of BizTimes in Milwaukee and is past president of the Milwaukee Press Club. BizTimes provides news and operational insight for the owners and managers of privately held companies throughout southeastern Wisconsin.

Steve has won several journalism awards as a reporter, a columnist and an editor. He is a graduate of the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee.

When he is not pursuing the news, Steve enjoys spending time with his wife, Kristi, and their two sons, Justin and James. Steve can be reached at