Kurt Schmoke—-former Baltimore mayor and now dean of Howard University’s law school—-has been selected to mediate the monthslong dispute over a new teachers contract, according to a joint statement released this evening by the D.C. Public Schools, the Washington Teachers’ Union, and the American Federation of Teachers.

“Our goal is to begin this process immediately so that we can quickly come to an agreement that makes the district and teachers partners in providing our students with the rich, rigorous education they deserve,” the short statement reads.

As WaPo’s Bill Turque reported last month, both sides are ready to return to the table to hash out an agreement some 17 months in the making. Just who would serve as mediator at that table was a point of contention.

Schmoke, mayor from 1988 to 1999, is of course most famous for suggesting that drugs be legalized—-a radical reform that might suggest some sympathy for the radical reforms pushed by Michelle Rhee. Then again, he’s spent his career since inside the legal and academic establishments that might favor a more easygoing approach. Should be fun to watch!