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 Aug. 27, 2014
In Franklin, just across 68th Street from the House of Correction there's a barn. Built in 1946, it's one heck of a barn. This attractive red and white marker of a rural Milwaukee past -- now part of Hunger Task Force's The Farm -- stands in stark contrast to the low, modern, blandness of the jail -- and its ominous razor-wire fences -- across the street. But the history of the two are intertwined.
Published Aug. 26, 2014
As the 50th anniversary of the Fab Four's only Milwaukee appearance nears, Milwaukee Public Television launches a 30-minute documentary about the Beatles' half-hour performance at the Milwaukee Arena.
Published Aug. 26, 2014
Meet Ben Dosmann, who at 22 is a young entrepreneur, owner of Top Notch, a company that cleans beer lines at local taverns. He showed OnMilwaukee.com's Bobby Tanzilo how the job is done.
Published Aug. 25, 2014
Taking something of a page from the book of the district's successful public Montessori schools, all MPS schools this year will use a staggered start to help introduce primary-aged children to their schools.
Published Aug. 24, 2014
Lately, a lot of requests have arrived via email asking about how one goes about researching the places they call home. Here are some tips for Milwaukeeans curious about how their abodes came to be and who inhabited them in the past.
Published Aug. 23, 2014
Vintage baseball brought me to Wade House, but history and nature reeled me in. Located in tiny Greenbush, west of Sheboygan, Wade House is a Wisconsin historical site that is managed by the Wisconsin Historical Society. The former stagecoach inn is part of a sprawling complex with a working sawmill, a carriage museum and a brand new visitors center.
Published Aug. 21, 2014
Today, more than 2,500 current and retired GE employees, plus about 150 other volunteers, are walking into 16 Milwaukee Public Schools and four Waukesha Public Schools (as well as Greenfield High School) to paint, clean, organize and landscape to help the schools plan for the first day of school on Tuesday, Sept. 2.
Published Aug. 21, 2014
As beautiful as Milwaukee's historic churches are, visiting them can sometimes be disheartening. That's because so many of them are threatened due to failing -- or even entirely failed -- finances as churches in the heart of the city have fallen victim to suburbanization. This is true for some, but not all churches, as I was reminded recently on a visit to Grace Lutheran Church, which houses a vibrant congregation in a stunning Gothic building.
Published Aug. 16, 2014
From ugly parking structures, to dead stretches of street to a freeway that cuts like machetes, Milwaukee -- for all its vigor -- still has some problem spots. We look at some on the east side of Downtown.
Published Aug. 15, 2014
Ever since my colleague Nick Barth hipped me to the waffle dog, I've been chasing after the Eats & Treats Truck and, yesterday, I finally caught up.