FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Starts first 100 days with listening sessions and stakeholder meetings
DETROIT – May 22, 2017 – Today, the Financial Review Commission approved a five-year contract with Dr. Nikolai Vitti as Detroit Public Schools Community District’s new superintendent. Dr. Vitti will take the helm of Michigan’s largest school district on Tuesday, May 23, assuming responsibility for more than 6,000 employees, 48,000 students and an annual fiscal budget of $660 million.
“We are thrilled to work with Dr. Vitti on our journey to excellence,” said Dr. Iris Taylor, president of DPSCD’s Board of Education. “We are confident that his passion for students and families, his qualifications, and his previous experience make him uniquely positioned to be a change agent for this district.”
Dr. Vitti is looking forward to his first day in the district and plans to hit the ground running with a full lineup of school visits, listening sessions, and informal meet and greets with teachers, parents, staff and the community. “I want to engage and listen to everyone who must share in the collective ownership of creating stronger outcomes for all of our students,” said Dr. Vitti.
“I am profoundly grateful for this opportunity to return to my roots and work with the newly elected school board to move the district forward and eventually set it above all large urban school districts in the country,” said Dr. Vitti. “I have no doubt that we can create high-demand, traditional public schools in every neighborhood as we work together to ensure a child-centric learning environment for all our students.”
Dr. Vitti previously led Duval County Public Schools (DCPS), the 20th largest school district in the nation with approximately 130,000 enrolled students in 200 schools, and a fiscal budget of $1.7 billion. During his four and a half years at DCPS, the district ranked among the first to fourth highest performing urban districts in the nation on the National Assessment for Education Progress. In addition, the district’s graduation rates increased from 67 percent in 2012 to 78.8 percent in 2016, surpassing all Florida urban districts in African-American graduation rates.
Under Dr. Vitti’s tenure, DCPS has been recognized for its expansion of the arts, foreign languages, innovative school programming, and mental health and progressive discipline strategies. Dr. Vitti also successfully secured more than $40 million in local philanthropy to transform the district’s historically lowest performing schools with a focus on human capital and technology infusion.
Alycia Meriweather, who served as interim superintendent for more than a year and steered the district during its transition from DPS to DPSCD, will serve as a senior advisor and direct report to Dr. Vitti through June 30. “I have great respect for the work Mrs. Meriweather has done in laying a foundation for the district’s future, and I look forward to working directly with her to build on her success.” said Dr. Vitti.
Dr. Vitti was previously chief academic officer of Miami-Dade County Public Schools, assistant superintendent for the Miami-Dade district and deputy chancellor at the Florida Department of Education. He also served children as a principal, dean of students, and teacher. He received a bachelor’s degree in history and a master’s degree in education from Wake Forest University. He also holds a master’s degree and a doctorate in education from the Harvard University Graduate School of Education.