By Ana Martinez-Ortiz
This past Tuesday, Milwaukee Public Schools (MPS) received a message from Superintendent Darienne Driver. In it, she announced her new position with United Way as the President and CEO for the Southeastern Michigan division.
“This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to use the power of collective impact and equity to improve the lives of young people, their families and the communities in which they live,” Driver wrote in her announcement.
Her role as Superintendent for MPS began in October 2014, after the Milwaukee Board of School Directors unanimously elected her according to the MPS website. During her time with MPS, she dedicated her energy and resources to changing the lives of students through positive impact.
One goal Driver had was to improve the test scores of the Milwaukee district, which she did. In 2016, Milwaukee transitioned into “higher performance category on the state report card.” This shift allowed MPS to stop their participation with Opportunity Schools and Partnership Program (OSPP), according to the MPS website.
Driver also implemented a strategic plan known as the Eight Big Ideas. According to Driver, Eight Big Ideas will focus on equity, student improvement in achievement, allow for stronger community partnerships and facilitate the allocation of resources.
The hope is that Eight Big Ideas will be incorporated throughout the next decade.
Through her work both within MPS and beyond, it’s clear of her commitment to uplifting the community through the youth and through families.
For the past four years, in addition to her work as Superintendent, Driver worked with United Way of Greater Milwaukee and Waukesha. In her announcement, she explains how she sat on the Board of Directors, chaired the volunteer engagement committee and served as the Season of Caring Champion for Volunteer Engagement in the Campaign Cabinet.
In addition to the email containing her letter, Driver also tweeted it out with the words, “THANK YOU, MILWAUKEE.” She also retweeted a tweet by United Way SEM announcing her new position within the company. The tweets received mostly positive feedback from community members thanking Driver for her service and wishing her luck in Detroit.
Driver’s last day as MPS Superintendent will be July 6, 2018. In the meantime, she will continue to work on the proposed FY19 budget, help students and schools prepare for prom, graduation and promotion ceremonies and looks forward to the All-City Arts Festival in May.
During a press conference aired on Facebook live by Fox6 News, Mayor Tom Barrett expressed his gratitude towards Driver.
“We were blessed to have her for the time she was here,” he said.
According to Barrett, Driver was a fabulous person to work with, who put the needs of the kids before all others. He said she helped put MPS on the right path, and he hopes to see a higher graduation rate in the future.
“She did everything she could to improve the education in Milwaukee and had some successes,” he said.
Although she is sad to leave, Driver expressed her excitement in this new venture and the opportunity to “play a role in the rebirth of this great American city.”
She concluded her letter with this: “Thank you for the opportunity to serve and I will forever be MPS Proud!”