Gov. Jay Nixon’s selection of Dr. Chris Wright as director of the state Department of Elementary and Secondary Education is a great one. Dr. Wright is an exceptional leader, whose style lends itself to both innovation and collaboration. Her appointment is particularly good news for SLPS superintendent Kelvin Adams and President Rick Sullivan. Dr. Wright is a natural supporter of the sorts of alternative governance provided by the SAB and by charter schools.
While there are plenty of great schools and some good public school districts in Missouri, the state has not been noticed as a national leader in years. Chris Wright, who has already racked up plenty of “firsts” in her career, may change that. She tackled thorny problems in both Riverview Gardens and Hazelwood, mixing a genuine love of children with a “no excuses” attitude for parents, staff, and administrators. I believe that she will unlock the generally untapped potential of DESE to serve public school districts throughout the state.
A+ for Jay on this one.