Bruce Murphy

MPS Losing Superintendent Driver

Will become CEO of Southeastern Michigan United Way in Detroit in July.

By - Apr 3rd, 2018 12:42 pm
Dr. Darienne Driver

Dr. Darienne Driver

Milwaukee Public Schools superintendent Darienne Driver is resigning to take a position as the president and CEO United Way for Southeastern Michigan which serves metropolitan Detroit.

Driver, who began her career as an elementary school teacher in Detroit Public Schools, will join the United Way, whose office is located in Detroit, in July.

She will succeed Tanya Heidelberg-Yopp, United Way’s COO, who had served as interim CEO since December when former President and CEO Herman Gray had left the agency, as Crain’s Detroit Business reports.

“This is a once-in-a lifetime opportunity to use the power of collective impact and equity to improve the lives of young people, their families and the communities in which they live,” Driver said, in a press release. “I am excited to return to Detroit, where I began my professional career as a teacher, and to play a role in the rebirth of this great American city.”

The press release pointed to a long list of improvements at MPS that occurred on her watch, including increases in early literacy scores, the high school graduation rate and the amount of scholarships going to graduates, and expansions in the Advanced Placement and World Language programs.

Milwaukee School Board President Mark Sain released a statement saying: “I want to acknowledge the many contributions Dr. Driver has made. Since coming to Milwaukee as the district’s first Chief Innovation Officer, she has engaged partners and stakeholders, building much-needed relationships with a variety of groups and organizations.”

Driver has served as MPS superintendent since 2014, and before that served as chief innovation officer for the district for two years. She succeeded Gregory Thornton, who left the district for a position in Baltimore.

Driver generally won praise for the job she did, but recently won criticism from the Milwaukee teachers union for raises she gave some staff, and a slap-down from the school board, which moved to to take power over all raises she awarded, as Urban Milwaukee reported. “At a time when there is so much turnover among big city superintendents, and when good ones are so hard to find for this difficult position,” the column suggested, “reducing the superintendent’s power to beef up school board clout might be the wrong way to go.”

Driver had an impressive educational background, including a master of arts in curriculum development from the University of Michigan, a master of education from Harvard University and a doctorate of education from Harvard’s Urban Superintendent Program. Previous to joining MPS, she had served as deputy chief of empowerment schools for the Philadelphia school district, and before that as coordinator of strategic management and accountability and special assistant to the superintendent in Clayton County Public Schools in Georgia.

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Categories: Education, Politics

4 thoughts on “MPS Losing Superintendent Driver”

  1. I am shocked!!! MPS teacher

  2. Eric J says:

    It just seems like she was here for a “cup of coffee” and to build her resume. Used the position for a while so shecould move on to something else, like so many others in positions like this.

    You don’t see people sticking around for the long haul much anymore. Take a position, build up your name, then move on

  3. Isral DeBruin says:

    Eric J: Please keep in mind that Dr. Driver was here for four years. The national average for big city supes is around three years (source: MPS had a stretch with seven different supes in a nine year period. We can have a conversation about what causes folks in these roles to leave so frequently, but your criticisms are misinformed.

  4. ric j says:

    Isral, thanks for making my point

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