Cincinnati Public Schools is offering its top job to Laura Mitchell. The school board announced the decision Tuesday.
Mitchell is the current deputy superintendent and chief academic officer of Cincinnati Public Schools. Before that she served as a teacher, principal, and program manager for the Stupski Foundation.
"People know I grew up in Cincinnati," says Mitchell. "I'm a product of Cincinnati Public Schools. I went to Bond Hill Elementary and then on to SCPA, so to be able to serve as the superintendent of our district is just an honor. I'm so thrilled and very excited about it."
"I think that may have been one of the things that set her apart," says School Board President Erica Copeland-Dansby. "In that, she knows the district, she knows the makeup of our students, she understands how important our community is. And partnerships, she has brought an immense amount of new partnerships to the district lately."
Copeland-Dansby says nearly 60 people applied for the position but Mitchell stood out in the nationwide search.
"We hired a third-party, neutral recruiting firm to do the work for us so this was not an inside job," says Copeland-Dansby. "My board colleagues (and I) were very deliberate in making this decision. This is by far one of the most important decisions we'll ever make as board members and we were very intentional about doing it."
Mitchell says she intends to continue work the district already has underway.
"I think we'll definitely continue our focus on our neighborhood schools to enrich them and make them more like our magnet programs. Our board has come up with a wonderful resolution around being equitable and providing equitable services for all of our kids. And, of course, we'll also continue our high school work."
According to her CPS biography:
Over the course of her career,Mitchell’s educational initiatives have been recognized on a national level. Her reform accomplishments have been highlighted through multimedia: television, radio and professional publications. She has served as the keynote speaker for several conferences and is the subject of a leadership case study published by the Darden School of Business at the University of Virginia, which focused on school turnaround.
Mitchell was instrumental in leading a team of principals, teachers and instructional coaches to increase the academic achievement of 16 underperforming schools. That work elevated Cincinnati Public Schools to the rating of “Effective”, making CPS the first and only urban district in Ohio to earn this distinction.
Mitchell has been awarded the Mayor’s Salute Award, Governor’s Educational Leadership Award, State of Ohio Senate Commendation and House of Representatives Tribute for Nationally Recognized Educator as well as the Milken National Award.
During the selection process an outside firm helped the district identify thirteen priority qualities for the position. The firm surveyed CPS stakeholders, parents and employees.
The board held a reception Monday night for the public to meet with the two finalists before meeting in executive session Tuesday to make a decision.
The search for a new superintendent began after Mary Ronan announced she will retire in August.