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Xerox executive named to No. 2 position at EAI

Education Alternatives Inc., the controversial private company that manages nine Baltimore schools, yesterday tapped a high-ranking Xerox Corp. executive to guide its rapid growth.

William F. Goins was named to the No. 2 position at EAI, which recently won a contract to manage the 32 public schools in Hartford, Conn., and is seeking other contracts around the nation. He will assume the newly created position of chief operating officer beginning Jan. 2, reporting directly to chairman John T. Golle.

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Mr. Goins, 53, is a graduate in mathematics from Morgan State University and member of the university's foundation board. He is married, has two grown daughters and lives in McLean, Va.

At Xerox, Mr. Goins holds the position of senior vice president in charge of global marketing, with a background in product sales.

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"We're really pleased with Bill," said Mr. Golle. "He looked at his self-worth and his net worth and saw that one was greater than the other, and decided it was time 'I direct my skills and give back to society.' "

Mr. Goins was not available for comment.

According to divisional president Philip Geiger, EAI "needs somebody to focus on our organizational structure at this time of fast growth."

He said Mr. Goins has "overseen the management of fairly large organizations. He is a person who understands the entrepreneurial part of a growing organization, somebody who experienced the growth pains [of a company] along the way."

Since 1990, EAI's sales have risen from $2.2 million to $34.4 million. EAI, which declared a $1.6 million loss two years ago, posted $2.5 million in profits in fiscal 1994.

Stock analysts in Minneapolis, where EAI keeps its headquarters, and in New York said the hiring of an executive of Mr. Goins' caliber is proof of the company's success. "It sends a strong signal of the stage they have evolved to that they are able to attract a guy like Bill Goins," said Michael Moe, a growth stock analyst at Lehman Brothers.

Mr. Geiger said the appointment was in no way connected to the controversy over EAI's effectiveness in Baltimore, where the company has a five-year school management contract.

Critics argue that it has failed to raise standardized test scores significantly during its first two years in the eight elementary schools in manages, and its attendance gains fell below those of schools citywide.

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Wednesday, after months of widening criticism of Baltimore's school-privatization venture, the City Council created an oversight committee to scrutinize the company's spending and progress.

EAI has said that attendance levels should be taken as a gauge of its success.

Mr. Golle said yesterday, "There is no controversy in Baltimore, except for what those people are making by politicizing the schools."

The for-profit company runs schools in Maryland, Connecticut, Florida, Arizona and Minnesota, an EAI spokesman said. All are managed or owned by EAI and run under the "Tesseract" DTC educational system, which emphasizes efficiency in school operation, widespread use of computers and teacher aides.


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