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HGSE Names Richmond Superintendent Deborah Jewell-Sherman Senior Lecturer

Harvard Graduate School of Education Dean Kathleen McCartney announced today that Richmond (Va.) City Public Schools Superintendent Deborah Jewell-Sherman, Ed.M.'92, Ed.D.'95, will be joining the Ed School faculty as a senior lecturer on education.  Jewell-Sherman, who was recently named Virginia Superintendent of the Year by the Virginia Association of School Superintendents, will also serve as codirector of the school's Urban Superintendents Program.

"Deborah Jewell-Sherman has built a reputation over the past decade as one of the most successful urban district superintendents in the country," said McCartney. "Her experience and success at all levels of education practice -- from teacher to principal to superintendent -- make her uniquely qualified for this position. We are honored that she has decided to accept our offer, and we look forward to her arrival on campus."

Jewell-Sherman, a graduate of HGSE's Urban Superintendents Program, has served as superintendent of the Richmond schools since 2002. In her first year on the job, Jewell-Sherman launched Excellence for All, a comprehensive plan aimed at improving teaching and learning to enable students to reach high academic standards, and promoting involvement with the community as a way of addressing nonacademic barriers to student achievement. This plan, along with her other reform efforts, has resulted in a consistent pattern of improvement in literacy, mathematics, science, and social science for students on all grade levels as measured on a variety of assessments.

Since her appointment, 95 percent of Richmond's lowest performing schools have achieved full accreditation under Virginia's Standards of Learning reform legislation. In addition, the district has improved from 18 percent to 86 percent of all schools meeting this standard as measured by the State Department of Education. Similarly, the number of Richmond schools meeting the Annual Yearly Progress criteria of No Child Left Behind increased from 20 percent to 80 percent under her leadership.

"Deborah Jewell-Sherman will be a fine addition to the faculty at the Harvard Graduate School of Education," said Virginia Governor Tim Kaine, whose three children attend the Richmond Public Schools. "I worked with her when I was Mayor of Richmond and now as Governor of Virginia.  She has a passion for student performance and believes that all children can succeed regardless of their backgrounds. She is always willing to embrace accountability for measured improvement rather than getting stuck in any status quo."

As one of the nation's longest serving and successful urban superintendents, Jewell-Sherman will make important contributions to the learning of HGSE students in both degree and nondegree programs, through teaching courses and in professional education programs, and participating actively in the development of programs to educate leaders for education. Most notably, she will serve as codirector of the school's Urban Superintendents Program, a rigorous course of study designed for professionals who wish to transform education as superintendents of our nation's urban school systems.  Doctoral candidates in this program have already worked innovatively and effectively in metropolitan school districts as teacher-leaders, school principals, and central office administrators.

"Deborah is an excellent addition to our faculty. She embodies the values of courage and commitment that are required to meet the daunting challenge that confronts urban school districts, making good teaching happen for every child, every day, in every classroom, to enable all children to learn and achieve at high levels," said Professor Robert Peterkin, director of the Urban Superintendents Program. "Her track record in the Richmond City School District is extraordinary, not only for the academic advancement of her students, but for involving and investing the Richmond community in their education.

"As a graduate of the Urban Superintendents Program, she understands the rigor and analytic abilities that prospective superintendents must have to deliver on the uniquely American promise of high quality education for all, regardless of race, gender, ethnicity, or economic background."

One of Jewell-Sherman's biggest successes as the leader of the Richmond Public Schools was the strengthening of the district's connections to the community. She increased by over 125 percent the number of partnerships with corporations, civic associations, universities, not-for-profit entities, and communities of faith in an overall effort to enhance student achievement. In addition, she secured corporate funding for ongoing leadership training that helped focus the attention of the district on its core mission of student achievement.

"Deborah Jewell-Sherman is a superintendent's superintendent. She is responsible for the outstanding gains in the academic achievement of students in one of the toughest urban communities in the nation," said Michael Casserly, executive director of the Council of the Great City Schools. "Her leadership, instructional, and political skills are widely known and respected by her colleagues in major city school systems across the country. She will be an outstanding addition to the Harvard program."


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