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Mayor Adrian Fenty
Press release: appointment of Michelle Rhee as acting chancellor of schools
June 12, 2007




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Government of the District of Columbia
Executive Office of the Mayor
June 12, 2007 
CONTACT: Mafara Hobson

On Fenty’s First Day of School, Naming Chancellor is First Order of Business:

Michelle Rhee brings innovative education experience and commitment to accountability

Gist, Fenty, Rhee, Reinoso
Deborah Gist, State School Officer; Mayor Adrian Fenty; Michelle Rhee, Acting Chancellor of DCPS; Victor Reinoso, Deputy Mayor of Education
Michelle Rhee
Michelle Rhee, Acting Superintendent of Schools
Michelle Rhee announcement ceremony
Michelle Rhee announcement ceremony, June 12, 2007

Mayor Adrian M. Fenty today signed a mayoral order appointing Michelle Rhee as the acting chancellor of District of Columbia Public Schools (DCPS), which he officially oversees as of 12:01 am today. The move marks the mayor’s first official act in his role as governing authority over the school system.

“There is nothing more important than the education of our children,” said Fenty. “I have absolute confidence that Michelle Rhee not only shares that opinion, but also will only be satisfied when DCPS has reached its full potential as a world-class education system. This is an historic and exciting day for District residents and, most of all, for our children.”

Rhee, who brings more than a decade of innovative education experience, will join the District government after serving as chief executive officer and president of The New Teacher Project (TNTP), an organization she founded in 1997 to achieve a greater impact on systemic education reform. Under her leadership, TNTP has grown into a national organization that has worked to recruit more than 23,000 new teachers for hard-to-staff public schools across the country.

Beginning her career as a teacher in Baltimore, Md., she and her organization have been a steady presence in DCPS since September 2000 demonstrating a commitment to recruiting and supporting great teachers for this city. TNTP accomplishments in DC include:

  • Dramatically increasing the number and quality of teachers coming into the District through the DC Teaching Fellows program and the redesign of the District’s recruitment and hiring processes
  • Working in partnership with the Washington Teachers Union to move hiring timelines from August to May to allow DCPS to secure the highest quality new teachers and provide veteran teachers with expanded choice as to where they teach in the city.
  • For the first time, enabled DCPS to open schools for the last two years without teaching vacancies.

Her commitment to excellence in education began in 1992 when she joined Teach For America and began a teaching career at Harlem Park Community School in Baltimore, Md. Her outstanding success in the classroom earned her acclaim in the national media. Specifically, Rhee worked with 2nd and 3rd graders scoring at the 13th percentile on nationally recognized standardized tests. By the end of her second year with the same students, 90 percent of them were scoring at the 90th percentile.

Rhee earned her bachelor’s degree in government from Cornell University and a master’s degree in education policy from the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University.

“I have dedicated my career to improving public education in urban communities and I believe there is a unique opportunity to effect significant systemic change in the District of Columbia to ensure that all children in this city get an excellent education,” said Chancellor-designate Rhee. “I believe this city and the school district have tremendous potential.”

About The New Teacher Project

The New Teacher Project (TNTP) is a nonprofit consulting organization dedicated to increasing the number of outstanding individuals who become public school teachers and to creating environments for all educators that maximize their impact on student achievement. TNTP strives to accomplish these goals by creating innovative teacher recruitment and hiring programs, identifying the obstacles that school districts face to hiring the best teachers possible, partnering with school districts to optimize their teacher hiring and school staffing functions, and developing new and better ways to prepare and certify teachers.

Since 1997, TNTP has recruited, prepared or certified approximately 23,000 high-quality teachers, worked with over 200 school districts, and established more than 40 programs in 23 states. TNTP has also published two major studies on teacher hiring and school staffing in urban areas: Missed Opportunities (2003) and Unintended Consequences (2005). Among others, TNTP’s clients include the school districts of Atlanta, Baltimore, Chicago, Memphis, Miami, New York, Oakland, Philadelphia, and Washington, D.C. and the states of Louisiana and Texas. For more information, visit www.tntp.org.

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