Doug Ross named DPS’ new Chief Innovation Officer

Ross’ role to be expanded beyond charter school authorization to bring best practices nationally to Detroit schools

Emergency Manager Roy S. Roberts today announced the appointment of Doug Ross, former U.S Assistant Secretary of Labor and founder and CEO of New Urban Learning and the University Prep charter schools, as the district’s Chief Innovation Officer, a new position in the district geared at finding and implementing innovative best educational practices used across the nation to improve graduation rates and college readiness in DPS schools.

Ross will continue to head Detroit Public Schools’ expanded Charter Schools Office working to ensure that all DPS charters are high performing schools. The district has expanded the number of DPS-authorized charter schools from nine to 14 for the fall.

“Doug will cause us to stretch our thinking across all areas of the school district, and the creation of a position centered on Innovation is in keeping with the most forward-thinking school districts across the country who are continually searching for new models of instructional delivery aimed at diverse student needs,” said Roberts.

Ross, who founded The University Prep schools, which are among the highest performing charters in the City of Detroit, will use the charter-authorizing office as a platform to consider how to expand DPS’ portfolio of school options and add other innovative schooling approaches to the system.

Among Ross’ first tasks will be opening an expanded oversight office and recommending staffing and contractual services levels needed to ensure high quality oversight of an additional number of schools.

“While building upon the many education practices that DPS already does well, this new position will allow me to use my experience to explore and recommend different innovative strategies geared toward meeting Emergency Manager Roy Roberts’ goal of increasing the proportion of DPS schools that lead students to graduation and college,” Ross said.

Ross, who reports directly to the Emergency Manager, has extensive experience in education and charter schools. In 1999, he founded and began serving as CEO of New Urban Learning and the University Prep Schools. He has been a candidate for Governor, U.S Assistant Secretary of Labor from 1993-95 and a lecturer at the Ford School of Public Policy at U of M from 1991 – 2003. From 1989 – 1991, he served as President of Corporation for Enterprise Development, and from 1984 – 1989, he was Director of the Michigan Department of Commerce. Prior to that, he was the Economic Analyst for ABC TV affiliate in Detroit. Ross served as a Michigan State Senator from 1978 – 1982. Ross is also a former high school teacher in the Detroit Public Schools.

Ross has a Masters in Public Policy from Princeton University and has done Graduate work in Economics at the London School of Economics. He holds a B.A. in History from the University of Michigan.

About the new DPS-authorized charter process

Following an extremely rigorous bidding and community vetting process, conducted in partnership with the National Association of Charter School Authorizers, DPS last school year announced the selection of three charter operators with proven records of raising student achievement to run five new charter schools this fall under the district Renaissance 2012 plan.

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