Long-time DPS educator to work with Judge Rhodes to prepare District for return to local control; lead day-to-day operations of Academics, Talent and Strategy Divisions
Detroit Public Schools Transition Manager Judge Steven Rhodes today announced that he has named long-time DPS educator Alycia Meriweather to be the District’s Interim Superintendent. Meriweather, who is a Detroit resident and DPS graduate, will lead day-to-day operations in DPS’ Academics, Talent and Strategy Divisions, while Rhodes retains the balance of leadership responsibility for the District. They will work in partnership to transition the school system to local control as provided in legislation pending in Lansing.
“It was important to me that we looked within Detroit Public Schools – as well as the city of Detroit – to identify a qualified individual to fill the Interim Superintendent’s position,” said Rhodes. “As a veteran educator who has served at many levels of Detroit Public Schools’ Academic operations, and has also played a key role in the strategic direction of the District over the last year, Alycia’s skills and experience make her uniquely qualified to serve in this critical leadership position. It is also important that Alycia has strong respect and support among her peers both inside and outside the District. I look forward to working with her.”
Meriweather, who began her career at DPS in 1995 as a science teacher at Farwell Middle School, most recently was Executive Director of the Office of Curriculum. Prior to her appointment to that position, she spent four years as the Deputy Executive Director of the District’s Office of Science, as well as two years as the Supervisor of Middle School Science. For the last several years, Meriweather has also led the Academic and Programmatic leadership over DPS’ Detroit Children’s Museum, as well as Camp Burt Shurly, the District’s overnight camp facility in Gregory, MI.
Additionally, for the last seven years, she has served as the Director for the Detroit Mathematics and Science Center, one of 32 centers in the Michigan Mathematics and Science Center Network. She holds a Bachelor’s degree in Education from the University of Michigan, a Master’s degree in Educational Administration from Wayne State University, and is currently working on her doctorate in Curriculum and Instruction at Wayne State.
“I have been with Detroit Public Schools since I was a four-year-old in the District’s Head Start program. I am a graduate of DPS and a lifelong resident of the City of Detroit. The success of DPS and its students is personal for me,” said Meriweather. “Since I was a little girl teaching my stuffed-animal students in the attic of our house in Detroit, I knew that I would be a teacher in Detroit Public Schools. My time at DPS has been the most rewarding experience of my life. To be able to bring my range of academic experience and incorporate educator insight and perspective is critical to Detroit Public Schools’ future. As a voting Detroiter, I am in full agreement with Judge Rhodes, that returning DPS to local control needs to happen as soon as possible.”
Potential candidates for the position of Interim Superintendent were submitted by a broad range of individuals and groups. All candidates were vetted jointly by Judge Rhodes and the Governor’s Office. Also, the leadership of the Detroit Federation of Teachers played a key role in identifying the most important qualifications for the position.
“I want to thank DFT leadership for their significant assistance in this process, and I look forward to their continued support and cooperation as we transition DPS to local control,” said Rhodes.
Meriweather did not initially seek the position. Her name was advanced to Judge Rhodes by both teachers within the system and members of the community.
“While I did not put my name forth for consideration, I am extremely honored that my peers and colleagues had such confidence in my abilities that they would,” said Meriweather. “Moving forward, their continued support of me, and their ongoing support of the District they have dedicated their lives to, will be essential to making the changes necessary to bring about improved academic outcomes for all of our students.”
One of Meriweather’s top priorities will be visiting each of the District’s 97 school buildings. During these visits, she wants to spend time in classrooms with teachers and students to, “see what they see, hear what they hear and experience what they experience.”
She will also be focusing on standards-based academics, differentiated instruction, District culture and climate, career and technical education, early childhood literacy and improving experiential/alternative learning environments and opportunities for DPS students.
“The Detroit Public Schools still face large challenges. But with the talent and expertise of Judge Steven Rhodes and Alycia Meriweather at the helm, we will see a smooth transition to local control,” said Gov. Rick Snyder. “And with the passage of my $715 million improvement plan for the District, that local control will start fresh with the resources it needs to provide a quality education to Detroit students and teachers in the environment they need and deserve to have.”