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Former Teachers and Principals on Team Helping to Lift Detroit Schools

Lori Higgins, Detroit Free Press, July 13, 2017

Nikolai Vitti has wasted no time in rebuilding the Detroit Public Schools Community District, orchestrating a revamp of his cabinet and the central office staff that has led to the departures of some of the district's top leaders, but has brought in people he says will be key to the academic turnaround that's needed.

Vitti, who began the job as superintendent of the district May 23, has built a cabinet that includes a mix of people who've been with the district for years; several who've worked in education in Detroit, including a former assistant chancellor from the Education Achievement Authority; two people he worked with in Jacksonville, Fla., including that district's former chief of schools, and a woman who led the Detroit Parent Network.

"The majority have been teachers; many have been principals in some of the toughest schools throughout this country," Vitti said during a board of education meeting Tuesday. "That is important as we build a new district to directly support the classroom, and our teachers and principals."

Collectively, he said today, "They've had a body of experiences at scale that will allow us to function with a sense of urgency and create change immediately. We can't wait a year, two years, three years to create systems and processes for some of the functions in the district."

"That's why it was important to make change. I'm not interested in convincing people that we have to move quickly and rapidly."

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