Abele Appoints Mequon-Thiensville Supt. to Lead MPS Takeover Plan
Milwaukee County Executive Chris Abele appointed Dr. Demond Means to leader the
commissioner of the Opportunity Schools Partnership Program. Dr. Means, who currently serves as superintendent of the Mequon-Thiensville School District and is a graduate of Milwaukee’s Riverside University High School, began his career in the classroom in 1994 and has since moved through the ranks of educational administration, serving as an assistant superintendent, human resources director, principal and assistant principal.
"The moral imperative of ensuring that the children of Milwaukee have high quality schools and they have access to those schools have driven me to accept this position," Dr. Means said.
Dr. Means says he doesn't plan to oversee or manage anyone at MPS, instead work with them.
"I think so often people have been focused on, which schools are going to be taken over and when does the takeover start," Means said. "We can't be more clear, that's not the focus right now. The focus is support the kids in Milwaukee Public Schools, the focus is to help Dr. Driver who's doing a great job to continue to do the work that she's doing."
Abele says this shouldn't be a partisan issue.
"Improving education in Milwaukee I don't think is a Republican or a Democrat issue," Abele said. "It's an all of us issue and it's about the most urgent issue we've got right now."
Dr. Means supported that statement.
"As an educator, I don't see letters, I don't see a D, an R, or an I over anyone," Means said. "I see kids and educators who need help. It doesn't matter who created the legislation, the legislation is here so we want to make the best of it now."
The Milwaukee Teachers Education Association isn't sold yet. They're happy Dr. Means has local ties, but still worry about the takeover.
"The bottom line is not who the commissioner is though," MTEA Vice President Amy Mizialko said. "The main point is a public takeover, a takeover of public schools is not good for the kids of Milwaukee and it takes the voice away from voters in Milwaukee and parents in Milwaukee."
Dr. Darienne Driver, the current MPS Superintendent released a statement saying:
"It is helpful to know who will be the commissioner.
"Our focus remains on the more than 150 schools that are a part of MPS and our efforts to continue to improve student achievement."
Dr. Means and Abele plan to hold public meetings and hearings over the next few weeks to hear from parents, teachers, students, and MPS leadership.