Detroit deputy superintendent gets top job in Cincinnati schools

Iranetta Wright, deputy superintendent of schools in the Detroit Public Schools Community District, will take on the top leadership position in the Cincinnati school district this spring.

Wright, an educator for nearly 30 years, was selected Feb. 27 as the next superintendent for Cincinnati Public Schools, Ohio’s third-largest school district. The announcement came after a six-month search. Wright was a finalist alongside two other candidates.

“I couldn’t be prouder of Ms. Wright,” said Detroit Superintendent Nikolai Vitti in an email, describing her as “exceptionally bright”, “hardworking,” and “a fighter for children whose families do not always have the resources or networks to advocate for a stronger public education system.”

Wright was a top administrator in the Duval County Public Schools in 2017 when Vitti was the superintendent there. When Vitti was hired to lead the Detroit district, she soon followed and took on a top administrative role as the district emerged from nearly two decades of state control and the school board sought new leadership that could turn around the district. In the Duval district, Wright had been a teacher, principal and chief of schools.

Wright is expected to begin her new job in May.

“I thank the [Cincinnati Board of Education] for their decision and belief in my ability to lead our district to the next level as we make Cincinnati Public Schools the public-school choice for children and families of our city,” said Wright in a statement following the announcement. “I’m looking forward to leading this district. We’re going to hit the ground running to learn, grow, and develop together.”

During her tenure as Detroit deputy superintendent, Wright oversaw the daily operations of the district’s 107 schools, including managing principals, counseling services, discipline, public safety, and athletics.  She also led the district’s efforts to overhaul its programs for students with special education needs, and addressed issues with transportation, academic instruction, as well as the program’s ability to identify and provide services to students. 

Wright also led efforts to better identify and serve students who are experiencing homelessness by ensuring each school appoints a person to serve such students and providing staff training. Since 2017, the district has increased the number of students identified as homeless from 600 to nearly 1,900. 
Vitti said that he and Wright had been discussing her future as a superintendent for the past couple of years, and that her departure should not come as a challenge for the district’s administrators.

“This has always been the plan,” he said. “Organizational structures have already been adjusted in the anticipation of this transition.”

Senior administrators from within the school district will take over the departments and work that Wright oversaw, Vitti added, instead of the district conducting a search for outside school leaders. Those changes should be announced shortly, he said.


This story was written by Ethan Bakuli, a reporter for Chalkbeat Detroit covering Detroit Public Schools Community District. Contact Ethan at ebakuli@chalkbeat.org. Chalkbeat is a nonprofit news site covering educational change in public schools, and this story was republished with its permission. Sign up for its newsletters at ckbe.at/newsletters.

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