Tonight the Milwaukee Board of School Directors named MPS chief innovation officer Dr. Darienne Driver as acting superintendent, beginning July 1. Driver takes over for outgoing superintendent, Dr. Gregory Thornton, who officially leaves June 30 to take over as CEO of the Baltimore City Schools.
Driver will hold the position until a permanent replacement is found.
Signs had pointed to the district tabbing former principal Dan Donder as interim in April, but when that information leaked, the board appeared to change course. Some sources said that Donder, who is retired from the district, declined the position.
Earlier today the name of UWM Associate Dean of Students Tom McGinnity's name -- which had also come up in April among a list of reported finalists for the post -- was floating around again.
But at a special board meeting tonight, called with the sole purpose of completing the work of naming a interim superintendent, the board went behind closed doors in an executive session for about 20 minutes before emerging to vote on Driver.
Here is the complete text of the district's news release announcing Driver's appointment. It includes detailed biographical information:
The Milwaukee Board of School Directors tonight named Darienne Driver, Ed.D. as Acting Superintendent of Milwaukee Public Schools, effective July 1, 2014. Dr. Driver will serve as the head of the nearly 80-thousand student school district – the largest in Wisconsin – until a successor superintendent is selected.
The Board sought an acting leader to replace Dr. Gregory E. Thornton, who accepted a position as Chief Executive Officer with the Baltimore City Public Schools effective July 1, 2014.
"Dr. Driver has accepted the position and will lead us forward and build on the foundation laid by Dr. Thornton," said Milwaukee Public Schools Board of School Directors’ president Dr. Michael Bonds. "We are honored to have such an outstanding candidate leading us during this transition period."
Dr. Driver has served as the district’s Chief Innovation Officer since July 2012. She leads district efforts to improve outcomes in the schools in greatest need of improvement; oversees the district’s implementation of the Wisconsin Common Core State Standards in literacy and mathematics in partnership with the GE Foundation and Student Achievement Partnership through the development of ten MPS-GEF Demonstration Schools; recruits multiple educational organizations to serve as partners in efforts to improve student achievement; and oversees the district’s contracted school services which serves students through alternative programming for at-risk students and non-instrumentality charter schools and turnaround models.
"I look forward to continuing to serve Milwaukee Public Schools and the children of the city in my new role and appreciate the confidence of the Milwaukee Board of School Directors," said Dr. Driver. "We will continue to build on the great work that’s being done in the district. Much more remains to be done and it is challenging work. Working with my colleagues, the community, our students and families, we will move forward with our efforts to improve outcomes for our students."
Prior to joining MPS, Dr. Driver served as Deputy Chief – Curriculum, Instruction and Professional Development, and Deputy Chief – Empowerment Schools for the School District of Philadelphia. In Philadelphia, she oversaw the Empowerment Schools efforts to increase achievement with large numbers of underperforming students and coordinated district efforts to provide needed support. Under her leadership, Empowerment Schools outpaced district schools on the Pennsylvania State System Assessment in Reading and Math. Empowerment Schools’ high schools made the largest gains on PSSA in history in English/Language Arts and Math.
Dr. Driver began her career as an elementary school teacher in the Detroit Public Schools.
Dr. Driver received a doctorate from Harvard University in Urban Superintendency. She has a master’s degree from Harvard’s Graduate School of Education and also received a master’s in curriculum development from the University of Michigan. She earned her undergraduate degree at Spelman College in Atlanta, Ga.
The Board will continue the search process for a permanent superintendent.
In early March, school board member Jeff Spence talked to me about the board's approach to finding an interim superintendent and a permanent replacement for Dr. Thornton. Here's what he said.
And here are some areas that parents and teachers say could use improvement.
No Talkbacks for this article.
Post your comment/review now
Disclaimer: Please note that Facebook comments are posted through Facebook and cannot be approved, edited or declined by OnMilwaukee.com. The opinions expressed in Facebook comments do not necessarily reflect those of OnMilwaukee.com or its staff.
Recent Articles & Blogs by Bobby Tanzilo
Published Nov. 26, 2014
Big changes are on tap at Milwaukee Art Museum, where the collections galleries are closed while the permanent collection is re-installed and an expansion project is under construction. MAM's Senior Conservator Jim DeYoung is the man charged with getting it done on time, on budget and, most importantly, without damage.
Published Nov. 25, 2014
When Mayor Tom Barrett visited Highland Community School on Monday to welcome home a group of adolescent students from China, the trip -- according to the students themselves -- wasn't officially over yet. Today, it is officially complete.
Published Nov. 25, 2014
This year, Dental Associates completed its restoration of the Iron Block Building -- actually a pair of connected buildings dating from 1860 and 1899 -- and the work put a gorgeous new luster on one of Downtown's most aged landmarks. As Milwaukee's only iron-facade building, it's a real Milwaukee gem. To look at the historic Iron Block Building on the corner of Water and Wisconsin now, you'd be hard-pressed to believe it almost didn't survive.
Published Nov. 24, 2014
The photomontages created by Eau Claire's Then and Now Photography seamlessly meld images of the same place but from different eras, creating a fascinating and unique look at how familiar sites in Milwaukee have changed over the years.
Published Nov. 22, 2014
The world's most famous ice skating rink shimmers beneath what must be the most impressive urban tree, perhaps in the world, and the shop windows in the Center and along Fifth Avenue must be seen to be believed. Crowds queue to see the holiday spectacular at Radio City Music Hall and Times Square is decked out in green and red. And all America comes to check it out.
Published Nov. 21, 2014
Few likely know the idea of farm to table better than new Blue Jacket chef Justice Neal. Neal, after all, went from farm to table himself, having grown up on 40 acres near Beloit. Recently, Neal, who served as the restaurant's sous, was promoted to replace departing chef Matt Kerley, who had run the kitchen at Blue Jacket since 2013. Since he's already launched a new menu, we decided it was time to check in with him about his work in the kitchen.
Published Nov. 21, 2014
Milwaukee Public Library looks into Milwaukee's historic public schoolhouses with a small exhibit and panel discussion at Central Library.
Published Nov. 20, 2014
Thanksgiving is on the horizon and you're hosting (or attending) a family dinner. What to do about wine? How to find something that pairs well with both turkey and cranberries? How to find a wine that appeals to you, your parents and Aunt Millie? It can be challenging, but experts say a few simple rules can help guide the way...
Published Nov. 18, 2014
One of the most recent building "booms" at Milwaukee Public Schools added a handful of new schools to the city's landscape, but at least one planned project -- and perhaps more -- never saw the light of day.
Published Nov. 14, 2014
Serious music fans will relate. Though a lot of music enters my ears, very few make the kind of impression that Lucy Wainwright Roche's 2013 record, "There's A Last Time For Everything," made on me. A year later I can tell you exactly where I was when I first popped it into the CD player and sat transfixed, unable to move. Lucy Wainwright Roche comes to Milwaukee next week, and we talked to her about it.