Detroit School District taps Normandy superintendent for top job
Detroit, MI – The superintendent of Normandy Schools has been hired to lead the Detroit Public Schools. Connie Calloway won the job with a 7-3 vote Thursday night. She replaces William Coleman, whose ouster is effective immediately.
The vote came despite some concerns that Calloway lacked the experience to tackle the problems facing the district.
Calloway, 56, has been superintendent of the 5,700-student Normandy School District since July 2004. She will head Michigan's largest district that loses about 10,000 students annually.
Fall enrollment fell 9.6%, from 129,181 to 116,815, according to the Michigan Department of Education.
Her appointment comes at a difficult time for the city's schools. The district is under a state-mandated plan to reduce a $200 million deficit, and the board is mulling a proposal to close as many as 52 schools to save money. Coleman also has been overseeing a fraud investigation involving the district's risk management office.
Calloway was chosen during a noisy public meeting that included supporters and detractors.
"This candidate is not qualified to come to this district to handle the challenges," board member Jonathan Kinloch was quoted as saying by both the Detroit Free Press and The Detroit News. Kinloch opened the meeting by unsuccessfully imploring the board to extend the search process and hire a national search firm.
Calloway told WJBK-TV on Friday that she was attracted to the job because students in Detroit were at risk. She pledged to involve elected officials, parents and other stakeholders in the job.
"It has to be a concerted effort to rebuild the schools in Detroit," she told the station in a live telephone interview.