Michael F. Rice, Ph.D.
Superintendent, Kalamazoo Public Schools
Dr. Michael F. Rice became superintendent of the Kalamazoo Public Schools (KPS) in August 2007. Prior to his appointment, Rice served for five years as superintendent of the Clifton Public Schools in Clifton, New Jersey.
During Dr. Rice’s tenure as superintendent, the district has adopted the nationally recognized OWL pre-school curriculum with community pre-school partners that include the county-run Head Start Program, New Genesis, and the YWCA; expanded full-day kindergarten from 176 to 1009 students, with the use of federal Title I funds; created a K-3 writing block; adopted new K-5 math materials, the first time since 1992; created new K-5 language arts and math guides; more than doubled the number of students in high school Advanced Placement (AP) courses and the number of AP courses that students take; and increased elementary, middle school, and high school state reading and math scores from 2007 to 2011.
During the same period, the district opened its first two newly constructed schools, Prairie Ridge Elementary School and Linden Grove Middle School, since 1972; began El Sol Elementary, a dual language school; and started the new Middle School Alternative Learning Program.
In the last year and a half, KPS has run community literacy programs in parent education and family literacy, informed by three years of literacy research and work and funded by Kellogg Foundation grants.
The district and community appreciated the opportunity to welcome President Barack Obama in June 2010 when the president named Kalamazoo Central High School the winner of the first annual Commencement Challenge.
Under Dr. Rice’s leadership, the district is working hard to help create a literacy community and a college-going culture to help children make the very most of their promise/Promise.