The Washington Post
Adrian Fenty signs with speakers bureau as ‘education advocate’
By Mike DeBonis
January 4, 2011; 12:30 PM ET
Former D.C. Mayor Adrian M. Fenty has signed with a major speakers bureau, which is marketing him as a “national leader in the area of urban education reform” — another sign that Fenty is looking to capitalize on his school-overhaul efforts in his life after the mayoralty.
Fenty has “exclusive representation” by the Greater Talent Network, a Manhattan agency that also represents dozens of high-profile folks including actor Danny Glover, former Attorney General Alberto Gonzales, writer Christopher Hitchens, filmmaker Michael Moore, and Newark Mayor Cory Booker.
Fenty’s web page bills him as a “dynamic and captivating speaker” who “discusses the necessity for nationwide education reform, rebuilding the economy, developing urban infrastructure and remodeling the political arena.” A YouTube video (above) put together by the agency includes clips from education-themed speeches and media appearances — including one of the most rousing speeches this reporter ever heard Fenty deliver, at a December 2008 fundraiser.
His speech topic is billed as “Changing Tomorrow, Today: An Afternoon with Mayor Adrian Fenty.”
From his agency bio: “One of the youngest mayors of a major metropolitan U.S. city, rising political figure Adrian Fenty captured the nation’s attention during his term as Mayor of the District of Columbia. Celebrated for his leadership in urban education reform, the public school system in the D.C. had been troubled for years with poor student test performance scores and graduation rates among the lowest in the nation. During his first months in office, he shocked the city–and the nation–by bringing the public school system under his administration’s control. That bold move and the addition of Michelle Rhee as Chancellor of Schools have credited Fenty with putting the school system on the path to long-awaited improvements inside and outside the classroom.”
Virtually all of Fenty’s national media appearances since losing the primary election to Vincent C. Gray in September have concerned education reform. In September, Fenty appeared with newsman Tom Brokaw on an NBC News education panel, where he said “politicians are going to have to make tough decisions and risk their political future because it’s the right thing to do.” Last week, he appeared on CNN’s Situation Room to discuss the politics of snow response, but the conversation with anchor Suzanne Malveaux quickly turned to school reform.
“It cost you that reelection?” she asked.
“Yes. More than anything, it — it just may have,” Fenty replied. “But it was definitely worth the risk. I wouldn’t change anything.”
Meanwhile, Rhee has continued to fashion herself into a national education reform brand, backed by deep-pocketed philanthropists who hope to raise $1 billion for her efforts. Her advocacy organization, StudentsFirst, is expected to announce a national legislative agenda for state and local policymakers this week. Fenty’s agency web page includes a link to buy the DVD of “Waiting for ‘Superman,'” the high-profile documentary that prominently features Rhee.