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Pittsburgh, Fort Worth Name New Leaders; Cleveland & St. Louis Leaders to Step Down

  • Wayne Walters, who has spent his career as a Pittsburgh educator, has been named superintendent of the Pittsburgh Public Schools after a 10-month stint as interim superintendent.

    “I remain unapologetically student-centered, committed, and passionate about our students, teachers, staff, and families,” Walters said in a news release, adding that “I believe competence, confidence, and collaboration go a long way in creating quality, equity, well-rounded experiences, and spaces of learning and joy for our students.”

    Walters previously held positions in the Pittsburgh system as a teacher, assistant principal and principal, as well as two assistant superintendencies--first of 6-12 schools and later of professional development and special programming.

    Board president Sala Udin was quoted as saying Walters’ reputation in the district “speaks volumes.” The board noted the appointment represents a “reset period” and opportunity for recommitment to public education in the city.  

    In Texas’ Fort Worth Independent School District, Angélica Ramsey has been named the lone finalist for superintendent to replace Kent Scribner, who has retired. (Texas requires the   school board to name the finalist at least 21 days before the hire becomes official.)

    Ramsey has been superintendent of the Midland Independent School District in Texas since early 2021. She previously led schools in the Pleasant Valley district in California.

    In a news release, board president Tobi Jackson hailed the pick, saying Ramsey will “bring her many amazing leadership qualities to our district and to the benefit of our greater community.” 

    Longtime Leaders in Cleveland and St. Louis to Step Down
    In Cleveland, Eric Gordon announced plans to step down as CEO of the Cleveland Metropolitan School District next summer. He was named to the post in 2011 after serving four years as the district’s chief academic officer.

    As the architect of “The Cleveland Plan,” Gordon’s tenure has been notable for an increase in graduation rates, more families involved in their children’s schools, and a 71.6 percent increase in enrollment in high-quality preschools across the district.

    On the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP), the Cleveland school system was one of six districts in the nation identified as beating the odds with consistent improvement on at least two grade/subject combinations since 2009. 

    In a district news release, Gordon said “the time and conditions are right for the mayor and the board to identify a CEO to lead the district’s long-term recovery from the pandemic and to build on the gains we achieved during a remarkable and historic period in K-12 education.”

    In 2016, Gordon received the Council of the Great City Schools’ Green-Garner Award as the nation’s Urban Educator of the Year. He also served as chair of the Council’s Board of Directors for 2019-2020.

    In St. Louis, Kelvin Adams announced plans to retire at year’s end after 14 years leading the public school system.  Adams cited as a recent achievement voter approval of a $160-million bond measure for repairs and renovations to 60 buildings. In addition, pre-K enrollment doubled and graduation rates rose during his tenure.

    “Having managed the elected board’s return to power and the great energy they bring to the position, I am leaving the district in caring and capable hands,” Adams said in a district news release. In the same release, board president Matt Davis described Adams’ retirement as “truly the end of an era.”

    The superintendent, said Davis, “often says he is ‘data-driven,’ and he used that talent to analyze information and help change the trajectory of the district. Today, SLPS is fully accredited, due to the leadership of our superintendent and his team.”

    In Memphis, the board of the Memphis-Shelby County Schools named Tutonial “Toni” Williams as interim superintendent. She also will continue to hold her current post as chief financial officer of the system, the largest in Tennessee. Joris Ray, superintendent since 2019, recently stepped down.