EXPERIENCED URBAN SCHOOLS INNOVATOR JOINS DPS TEAM AS CHIEF ACADEMIC AND ACCOUNTABILITY AUDITOR

Detroit, MI – Detroit Public Schools Emergency Financial Manager Robert C. Bobb has asked Barbara Byrd-Bennett to join his team as DPS Chief Academic and Accountability Auditor.

Barbara Byrd-Bennett has led three urban U.S. districts including overseeing a turnaround district within New York City Public Schools, received the 2001 Council of Great City Schools Urban Superintendent of the Year award, and co-chairs a national innovation fund. She served as CEO of the 77,000-student Cleveland, OH Municipal School District; was appointed by Rudy Crew as Supervising Superintendent of the Chancellor’s District, with an annual budget of $438 million and where she was responsible for direct oversight of the lowest performing schools in New York City; and was appointed by Ramon Cortines as Superintendent of the Crown Heights School District, Brooklyn, NY, where she is credited with reestablishing order and instructional focus during an “administrative takeover” of the district as well as with gains in reading and math and a sharp reduction in the number of students referred to special education. She has been an elementary, middle and high school teacher, principal, and director of curriculum and instruction and professional development.

In 2008 Byrd-Bennett accepted an invitation from American Federation of Teachers President Randi Weingarten to serve as co-chair, along with former Iowa Gov. Tom Vilsack, of the AFT Innovation Fund, an effort run by Rochester, NY teacher’s union president Adam Urbanski, one of the most progressive teacher’s union leaders in the nation. The Innovation Fund is designed to spark union-led efforts to improve public schools.

“We have a reading emergency, a writing emergency, a science emergency, and a math emergency, in many of our schools. We have to urgently and with focus involve the Detroit community in creating a Master Education Plan for 21st Century Teaching and Learning for Detroit’s children,” Bobb said. “Byrd-Bennett is a proven innovator and has the credentials and experience to jump-start this process in Detroit, having led dramatic improvements in student achievement in some of the nation’s most challenging educational environments over many years.”

In addition, Byrd-Bennett’s roles at DPS will include conducting complete audits and reviews of all academic programs and front offices of the school district in order to identify cost-savings opportunities and strategic investments that will support 21st century teaching and learning. She will lead reorganization efforts with a team of internal experts selected by Bobb. She will lead efforts to implement recent Council of Great City Schools peer review report findings as mandated by the district’s Consent Agreement with the State of Michigan, and will reexamine the recommendations from the 2005 Governor’s Transition Team that may be applied to DPS today.

“This is an incredible opportunity to implement Mr. Bobb’s vision and directives and to review cost-savings opportunities and strategic investments for of the academic side of the house, PK-12 in Detroit, using solid, research-based programs that raise student achievement levels for our children and that allow the adults to do the work they do in a manner that is accountable for the children,” Byrd-Bennett said.

Byrd-Bennett is currently a Trustee of Common Core, which promotes programs, policies, and initiatives at the local, state, and federal levels that provide students with challenging, rigorous instruction in the full range of liberal arts and sciences; currently an Executive in Residence at Cleveland State University School of Education and Human Services; and currently Executive Officer for New Leaders for New Schools in Washington, D.C., which attracts, prepares, and supports outstanding individuals to become the next generation of school leaders. Byrd-Bennett has been a Board Member of the U.S. Department of Education National Assessment Governing Board, National Board for Professional Teaching Standards, the Education Commission of the States National Center on Education Accountability and the Albert Shanker Institute, and previously served as President of the Urban Superintendents’ Association of America. She has served as Superintendent in Residence as a consultant on resource development of instructional resources for Harcourt Publishers.

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SW4/24/09

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