BALTIMORE (WJZ)—A new chapter for Baltimore City schools begins with a new person in charge. The school system’s CEO started Tuesday.

Linh Bui joined him on his first day on the job.

Gregory Thornton was previously the superintendent of Milwaukee’s public schools. Now he’s bringing his experience to Baltimore City.

A special guest entered the classroom at Mervo High School. Thornton started his new job as CEO of Baltimore City Schools.

On day one, he and his team met students and educators.

“We’ve been asking folks in school, ‘What can we do to make sure things are better for kids? How do we help you? How can we help you do that work?’” said Linda Chen, chief academic officer.

There are 85,000 students in the Baltimore City school system. Thornton says he can’t wait to take over because he has deep roots in Maryland.

He’s worked in Montgomery County Public Schools and got his master’s degree at Salisbury University.

“It’s good to be home! I was there on the Eastern Shore. And it’s a good opportunity to come back and pick up and do some great things,” Thornton said.

Thornton knows there are challenges in Baltimore like any urban center.

“We want to do more than what we have the resources to do. Our aspirations and dreams are bigger than what normally would be. Certainly we have challenges in our communities. Turn on the news every night. You guys cover those stories. Those are things our children live with,” Thornton said.

His goals include getting more students registered in summer programs, engaging the community and boosting educator effectiveness.

Before ending his visit, students offered him some friendly words of wisdom.

“Get yourself a crab cake,” a student said.

Thornton will visit more schools throughout the summer.

Thornton takes over for Andres Alonso, who resigned after six years.

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