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Ray Hart Named to Lead National Urban School Coalition

  • Ray Hart was recently named the new executive director of the Council of the Great City Schools, the nation’s primary coalition of large urban public-school districts. Hart is the current research director for the Council, a position he has held since 2013.

    He will replace Michael Casserly, who has been with the Council for 44 years, nearly 30 years of which he has served as the Council’s Executive Director.

    As research director for the Council, Hart is responsible for working collaboratively across the membership to identify and analyze major trends, patterns, successes, and challenges in urban education nationwide. He was instrumental in developing and launching the organization’s Academic Key Performance Indicators, and has led the Council’s efforts around the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) and its males of color initiatives.

    Prior to joining the Council, Hart was a Fellow at ICF International. He also served as Executive Director in the Atlanta Public Schools, where he led the redesign of the research and assessment division. Hart has a bachelor’s degree in Industrial and Systems Engineering at the Georgia Institute of Technology, a master’s degree in curriculum and instruction from Cleveland State University, and a PhD in research, measurement, and statistics from Kent State University. 

    Michael O’Neill, the organization’s Chair of the Board and vice president of the Boston School Committee, made the announcement at the Council’s virtual Legislative/Policy Conference held last month.  

    In his remarks, O’Neill noted the Search Committee, which was established by the Executive Committee of the Board of Directors and chaired by Eric Gordon, the CEO of the Cleveland Metropolitan School District, conducted an extensive search over the course of more than one year, aided by the search firm of Isaacson, Miller. “As expected from the national reputation of the Council, there was considerable interest in the role and a number of interviews were conducted with very highly qualified candidates. After significant review, the Search Committee unanimously recommended, and the Executive Committee unanimously agreed, that Dr. Hart is the right person to lead the Council forward.  We were energized by his commitment to our work, his involvement in the Council’s success to date and his eagerness to continue to focus on equity for all the youth our member districts serve,” said O’Neill.

    “It is an honor and privilege to be named to this position,” said Dr. Hart. “My gratitude to the Executive Committee, Board of Directors, and the organization for this opportunity is beyond words. I look forward to working with the talented staff of the Council to serve the students and staff in our member districts and help grow the organization’s reputation, impact, and influence.”

    Hart assumes his responsibility as Executive Director on July 1. Casserly will remain with the group as a Strategic Advisor.