MILWAUKEE (WITI) -- Baltimore City Public Schools announced Tuesday, February 18th that Milwaukee Public Schools Superintendent Dr. Gregory Thornton will become the new Chief Executive Officer of the district, pending successful contract negotiations.
"I'm proud to say I'm from Baltimore City Schools along with you as we move forward so today I do want to extend my gratitude again to the board to allow me to serve. It was a hard decision. I won't look back. It's been great. I will miss Milwaukee," Thornton said in Baltimore on Tuesday.
Baltimore's gain is a big loss for Milwaukee, according to Milwaukee Board of School Directors President, Dr. Michael Bonds.
“We are extremely grateful to Dr. Thornton for his tireless efforts to improve outcomes for students in Milwaukee Public Schools. MPS has made significant progress under Dr. Thornton’s leadership. He is one of the top superintendents in the nation and has done a phenomenal job. He will be missed," Dr. Bonds said.
Dr. Bonds says he is scheduled to meet with Thornton on Wednesday.
"Him and I are going to meet (Wednesday), and we're going to discuss everything and see where everything goes. From there, we'll have a better understanding of the time frame - but it's my personal desire and wish that we continue the path that we're on now," Dr. Bonds said.
Milwaukee Board of School Directors Vice President Meagan Holman echoes Dr. Bonds' statements - saying Thornton has laid a good foundation for MPS - something they hope to continue building upon going forward.
"Things have been going pretty well for MPS. We've seen gains in enrollment this year. We've seen gains on some of our national test scores. We have a foundation in place now to find somebody who is going to take us where we need to be next," Holman said.
The Milwaukee Board of School Directors has a special meeting scheduled for Wednesday night to discuss what's next for the district.
Thornton came to Milwaukee in July 2010 after a nationwide search to select a new superintendent. He has served as superintendent of Chester (PA) Upland School District, as Chief Academic Officer in Philadelphia Schools, Deputy Superintendent of Montgomery County Public Schools and in leadership positions in Winston-Salem/Forsyth County Public Schools and Charlotte-Mecklenburg Public Schools. He began his career as a teacher.
State Superintendent Tony Evers released the following statement on Tuesday:
“I thank Dr. Thornton for his leadership and appreciate his work as superintendent of Wisconsin’s largest public
school district. He has served the people and especially the children of Milwaukee well, showing enthusiasm,
dedication, and focus. Anyone who has spent time in a school with Dr. Thornton can see how much he enjoys
working for kids.
Throughout his time in Milwaukee, he remained focused on efforts to raise academic achievement for all
students, guiding them forward on a path of success. He drove the effort to change the instruction of math, science,
reading, and literacy in MPS and promoted efforts to provide students with more opportunities to access
postsecondary education. He also spearheaded changes that have begun to improve some of the long-standing
financial woes experienced by the district.
Every year since he arrived in Milwaukee, I have joined Dr. Thornton on the first day of the school year to
walk the neighborhoods surrounding city schools, ringing bells to call children back to class. Together, we have
enjoyed many visits to MPS schools where students and educators have been able to showcase their work. It is clear
that his dedication to the children and the community has had a positive impact. My colleagues here at the
Department of Public Instruction join me in wishing Dr. Thornton the best in his new role in Baltimore.”