Education Achievement System Chancellor John Covington announced Thursday he has recruited and hired a substantial portion of his cabinet and staff as he puts in place the framework of the system that will begin operating its first schools next September.
Covington introduced new cabinet and staff members at a regular meeting of the Education Achievement Authority, the governing body for the new system, on the campus of Eastern Michigan University.
“This is an extremely strong team that will be able to do the heavy lifting that has to be done to get the Education Achievement System up and running by next September,” Covington said. “I have looked not only throughout Michigan, but throughout the country to identify the best and brightest that were available to do this groundbreaking work in Michigan. They are eager to begin work on this initiative to really change the paradigm for teaching and learning, which is something that we haven’t done in this country for the last 150 years.”
Covington said that the central office, which will eventually oversee a district that will serve more than 100,000 students, will not grow to levels comparable with similar size agencies. He said a small number of additional positions may be needed, in areas such as strategic planning and legal, as well as support positions, but the body of staff introduced today forms the basis for the entire support positions necessary to support autonomous schools.
Covington also indicated he is considering changing the start-up strategy originally laid out for the Education Achievement System when its formation was announced in June by Gov. Rick Snyder and Roberts. At that time the plan was for the system’s initial operation to begin in Detroit with approximately 38 schools in its first year and then expand to include low-performing schools throughout Michigan.
“We need to make it clear from day one that this is truly about improving public schools across this entire state for kids who historically have been underserved or not served at all.”Covington said. “I have been on a listening and learning tour throughout Detroit and Michigan since my appointment, and I am convinced that as a statewide strategy we must include schools not just in the City of Detroit, but from regions across the state – rural as well as urban – in the very first phase.
“To maximize the opportunity for success in these schools we may need to modify the approach in Detroit and review the number of schools to include in Phase I to accomplish our statewide mission.”
Appointments Covington announced to the Education Achievement Team were:
- Deputy Chancellor, Instructional Support and Educational Accountability: Dr. Maria Goodloe-Johnson. Dr. Goodloe-Johnson is a career educator whose most recent position was Superintendent of the Seattle,WA Public Schools. During her tenure inSeattle, student enrollment increased, test scores outpaced state averages and private foundation support for the district increased dramatically. Prior to Seattle she served as the first African-American and first woman appointed as superintendent of the Charleston County, South Carolina School District. During her tenure in Charleston Countythe average SAT scores for students increased by 30 points.
- Deputy Chancellor, Business/Fiscal Affairs and Operations: Dr. Rebecca Lee-Gwin. Dr. Lee-Gwin, who has 39 years of experience as an educator, comes to the EAS after serving as Chief Financial Officer of theKansas City, Missouri, School District. Prior to her service inKansas City, she served as superintendent of the Russell County, Alabama School District, where she reduced the dropout rate and increased reading test scores, and as superintendent of the Lanett City, Alabama Schools, where she eliminated a $1 million debt and served as a member of the State Superintendent’s Advisory Committee.
- Executive Assistant to the Chancellor:LydiaScott-Barnes. Barnes comes to the EAS from the United Auto Workers Union, where she served as an international officer’s secretary. Prior to working for the UAW she was an office manager for the state of Michigan Department of Community Health.
- Chief Technology Officer: Adel Haddad. Haddad has more than 22 years’ experience in the information technology field, most recently as Chief Information Officer for Technology Experts, Inc. in Hammond, Indiana. He has developed and presented technology programs to academic and professional organizations, including implementing a student attendance system that focuses on safety and building a program to help students to better prepare for state testing for District 215 in Calumet City, Illinois.
- Administrative Assistant to the Chancellor: Elizabeth Ruiz. Ruiz graduated in May from DePaul University Law School in Chicago.
- Chief of Staff: Tyrone E. Winfrey, Sr. Winfrey, who is president of the Detroit Board of Education, has been serving as Associate Director in the Office of Undergraduate Admissions for the University of Michigan and Director of the University of Michigan Detroit Admissions Office. As a member of the school board he helped initiate programs to prepare students for Michigan Merit Examination and American College Testing. Prior to his position at theUniversityofMichiganhe helped to initiate the Michigan State University-Detroit Outreach Admissions Office.
- Executive Director, Communications and Public Relations: Pamela Miller Malone. Malone, fromDetroit, is founder of the strategic communications/business development consulting firm, Beyond A LOGO, inDetroit. Prior to forming her company she worked as senior vice president of development for Junior Achievement of Michigan, as director of urban strategies for the YMCA of Metropolitan Detroit and as the first Director of Development for the Detroit Urban League. She is a resident of Detroit and president of the Historic Boston-Edison Association.
- Interim Associate Chancellor, Instructional Support and Educational Accountability: Dr. MiUndrae Prince. Dr. Prince comes to the EAS after serving as Associate Superintendent for Educational Accountability and Instructional Support in the Kansas City, MissouriPublic Schools. Prior to Kansas Cityhe was State Coordinator for the South Carolina Department of Education for its High Schools That Work program. In that position he grew the initiative from 65 high schools to more than 150 high schools across the state
- Administrative Assistant to the Chancellor: Arese Robinson. Robinson, of Detroit, most recently served as an Executive Assistant in the Mayor’s Office.
- Chief Officer, Accountability, Equity, and Innovation: Dr. Mary Esselman. Dr. Esselman comes to the EAS after serving as Assistant Superintendent for Professional Development, Assessment & Accountability for the Kansas City Public Schools. Over the past two years she has played a critical leadership role in several large scale projects including most recently the rightsizing initiative, community based strategic plan and curriculum revision process in Kansas City. Esselman has worked in a wide variety of urban environments both domestically and internationally, including public and private schools, prisons and federal housing communities.