"I didn't have any reluctance in taking it on," Bryant said in an interview this week. "We have a lot of things to get done here."
Bryant, 55, of Voorhees, has been designated as the point person between the troubled district and a state task force overseeing the operation and financial management of Camden's schools.
His task is to ensure that the district implements hundreds of recommendations in state audits and reports that Camden school officials had virtually ignored.
"He has more of a direct responsibility in ensuring that those directives are carried out," School Board President Philip E. Freeman said. "This current board will ensure that everything that needs to be corrected will be done."
Bryant began the job in September, but his new job title and $94,000 salary were not approved by the school board until February.
In seven months, Bryant said, he has responded to 60 percent of the more than 160 requests for information or follow-up by the state.
For example, when a state monitor assigned to an elementary school requested that the heating system be adjusted, Bryant notified plant services and reported back when the project was completed.
"We feel pretty good that we're making progress," Bryant said.
Vito Gagliardi, head of the state-appointed Special Assistance Task Force, which is overseeing Camden's schools, said Bryant "has done an outstanding job."
"I think he has made a difference," Gagliardi said. "We would not be as far as we are without his ability and involvement. He was the right man for the right job at the right time."
In addition to tracking requests from the state, Bryant has taken the lead in incorporating recommendations to correct deficiencies in the district's strategic plan, Gagliardi said.
Freeman said the district needed a go-getter like Bryant. Camden spent years developing a two-year strategic plan that was never implemented.
"He's someone that understands the system, and he is not a procrastinator," Freeman said. "He brings with him ideas and incentives for change."
The appointment, however, has some crying foul in a district where patronage is rampant. His brother Wayne is a powerful Democratic state senator, and Mark Bryant is the mayor of Lawnside.
"The criteria for getting a job in this city is who you know, who you're connected to," said Lola Moore, a site manager for a youth service center at Woodrow Wilson High School. "Does the fact that he's a Bryant have anything to do with him getting that job? Yes, it did.
"The kind of crap they're doing here is unreal. They don't have a clue," said Moore, who has worked in the district for 27 years. "I want them to do right for the children."
But Camden officials said Bryant was the best person for the job. He has worked in the district for 15 years, most recently supervising the special-education department from 1994 to 1999. He was an assistant deputy commissioner in the state Department of Education during the Florio administration.
"I don't care who his brother is. His professional record shows he can do the job," school board member Jose E. Delgado said. "If he can't, he'll be removed."
"He is a man of true integrity who is very qualified, with over 27 years in education. I have the utmost respect for him," Freeman said.
Bryant cautioned that he was not the "savior" for the district, and he said the school board and Fitts were ultimately responsible for turning around the district.
"I'm not the person that's going to make it all happen. I'm just one person," he said.
It will be a monumental undertaking to correct deficiencies that have brought the Camden district to the brink of a state takeover. The state has severely criticized how Camden runs its schools, and the district is under pressure to turn around its lackluster performance.
Bryant said his appointment should not take attention away from the needs of a district plagued by poor test scores and high dropout rates.
"I'm not the story," he said. "Ultimately, what people think about Isaac Bryant is irrelevant. The bottom line is to get our operations in line and improve."
Bryant, called Ike by close friends and colleagues, grew up in Lawnside, where his father was the school board president.
Unlike his brothers, Bryant said, he has no political aspirations. Instead, he has found his passion in education, working as an elementary-school teacher and a school psychologist during a career that has spanned nearly three decades.
"I'm not a very boisterous person. I'm not the one trying to get out front into the papers," he said. "I'm here trying to do my job. I try do it in a quiet manner, but effectively."