Barbara Byrd-Bennett, who has over three decades, of education experience, has served as Chief Academic and Accountability Auditor for Detroit Public Schools from May 2009 to the present.
She began her career as a classroom teacher and principal in Harlem and has risen through the ranks serving as Deputy Executive Director for Instruction Curriculum and Professional Development for the New York City Board of Education; Superintendent of the Crown Heights Brooklyn District; Supervising Superintendent of the Chancellor’s District in New York City; and Chief Executive Officer of Cleveland Municipal School District in Cleveland, Ohio before coming to Detroit.
As the Supervising Superintendent of the Chancellor’s District in New York from August 1996 – November 1998, she was responsible for the direct oversight of a select group of the lowest performing schools in New York City school district as identified by the Commissioner of New York State and the New York State Board of Regents. She assumed all of the powers and responsibilities for the identified schools and school districts in the areas of instruction, budget and personnel with a major function of developing, expanding, supporting and monitoring the implementation of the redesign and reconstitution of persistently underperforming schools. The Chancellor’s District serves as a national model for turnaround school efforts and the results of the progress has been widely recorded and documented.
As CEO of Cleveland Schools from November 1998 – February 2006, she was responsible for direct oversight and management of all aspects of the school district which served over 77,000 students. The school district is the largest in the state of Ohio and the 39th largest school district in the nation. She was responsible for the effective management of approximately 12,000 employees in over 125 school buildings and 11 administrative sites with an annual budget of over $2 billion (including the capital budget). Her success was evidenced by dramatic student achievement gains, including movement from the state’s list as a district in “academic emergency” to a higher academic category; with successful financial management by removing the district from state fiscal emergency, and by successful bond campaigns resulting in a $1.3 billion capital bond and the referendum for continued mayoral control. Twelve new schools were built; others were closed. Twice, eleven separate collective bargaining contracts were successfully negotiated.
From February 2006 to March 2009, she served as Superintendent-in-Residency for Harcourt School Publishers, Chicago, Illinois.
Ms. Bennett continues to be actively involved in training educators on a national scale, including serving as a Superintendent Executive Coach for the Broad Superintendent Academy from March 2006 to the present; Executive Officer New Leaders for New Schools in Washington DC from October 2006 to the present; and Executive–in-Residence for Cleveland State University
College of Education and Human Services in Cleveland, Ohio from March 2006 to May 2010.
As the Chief Academic and Accountability Auditor for DPS, she is responsible for conducting academic audits and review of all district programs, school based programs and front offices of the Detroit Public School District. She is charged with examining current programs to determine alignment to state and national standards; to lead reorganization efforts to align academic reforms to the financial planning and deficit reduction plan; to lead the effort to implement the recent Council of the Great City Schools peer review findings as mandated by the District’s Consent Agreement with the State of Michigan. The chief Academic and Accountability Auditor is responsible for re-examining the recommendations from the 2005 Governor’s Transition Team and determining current applicability of the findings to Detroit Public Schools. With a team of experts identified and assembled by her, she is using findings to develop a comprehensive and cohesive 21st century standards-driven performance-based academic plan which is contiguous to the available and projected finances. As a result of the implementation of a rigorous 5-year academic plan, the Detroit Public Schools met Adequate Yearly Progress for the first time since 2006.
She was also the 2008 Speaker at the Democratic National Convention in Denver, Colorado.
Her past and present affiliations include:
Her honors and awards include:
May 2001, 2002 and 2003 Honorary Doctorates confirmed by Cleveland
State University, Baldwin-Wallace College; John
Carroll University and Notre Dame
June 1987 Doctorate Candidate Columbia University
Teachers College, New York City - Penn Fellow
June 1984 Master of Science
Pace University, New York City
August 1970 Master of Arts
New York University, New York
August 1969 Bachelor of Arts
Long Island University, New York City