Tenn. Gov. Bill Haslam has appointed Malika Anderson to head Tennessee’s special school district for its worst-performing schools.
Anderson will replace Chris Barbic, who has led the Achievement School District (ASD) since its inception in 2012. He will leave the job at the end of the year and Anderson will take over in January.
The state-run district operates 29 schools serving close to 10,000 students.
Back in July, Chalkbeat Tennessee reported that Barbic hoped Anderson would be his successor.
The ASD’s current deputy superintendent, Anderson is a graduate of the Broad Center’s Residency in Urban Education, a two-year training program for high-level managerial positions. She served that residency from 2009 to 2011 as director of academic analysis and support for the District of Columbia public schools.
In a letter posted on the district’s website Tuesday morning, Anderson said ensuring the state has great neighborhood schools is a deeply personal mission for her.
“My family helped lead the civil rights movement in Tennessee from the 1950s through the ‘70s and demanding access to equitable, high quality education for all students was central to the movement,” she wrote.
“Today when less than 20 percent of students in our state are black, but over 90 percent of the students consigned to neighborhood schools that perform in the bottom 5 percent are black, we have to take a critical look at how we have let the blood, sweat and tears of freedom fighting generations past turn into today’s segregated and unequal systems of schools.”
Photo Credit: Malika Anderson, Achievement School District handout
A version of this news article first appeared in the District Dossier blog.