Superintendent, Kalamazoo Public Schools

Michael F. Rice, Ph.D.


Dr. Michael F. Rice has been the superintendent of the Kalamazoo Public Schools (KPS) since 2007. During this time, with the Kalamazoo Promise as a springboard, the district has started full-day pre-kindergarten and quintupled the number of full-day kindergarten students; improved student achievement in reading, writing, and math; more than doubled the number of students taking Advanced Placement (AP) courses and more than tripled the number of AP courses that students take; and increased high school graduation rates. At the same time, AP participation for African American, economically disadvantaged, and Latino students has increased 313 percent, 402 percent, and 1212 percent, respectively. 

During the same period, the district has grown by more than 1,300 students (roughly 13 percent); increased from 22 to 26 sites; added a dual language elementary school, an alternative middle school program, and an alternative high school; and built three completely new schools and one partially new school, as well as additions onto two middle schools. The district has also begun a mentoring program that served 1,168 students with 9,572 weekly mentoring sessions in 2017-18, its third year in existence. KPS has passed three bonds since 2007 and spearheaded the countywide passage of a special education millage in 2015.

Prior to serving as KPS superintendent, Dr. Rice served for five years as superintendent of the Clifton Public Schools in Clifton, New Jersey. Among his honors are the presidency of Michigan’s urban schools association, the Middle Cities Education Association, in 2013-14, and the Michigan Superintendent of the Year Award from the Michigan Association of Superintendents and Administrators (MASA) in 2016.

Dr. Rice began his career as a high school French teacher and award-winning speech and debate program founder and coach in the Washington, D.C. Public Schools (DCPS). He earned a bachelor’s degree in psychology with honors from Yale University and a master’s degree and doctorate in public administration with honors from New York University.

Dr. Rice has appreciated the opportunity to serve on a number of boards, commissions, and committees including, among others, the Middle Cities Executive Committee; the MASA State School Reform Commission (SSRC); the Steering and Technical Committee of the state School Finance Research Collaborative; the AASA Social and Emotional Learning Cohort, which he co-chairs; and the board and executive committee of Communities in Schools—Kalamazoo. His most rewarding work, however, comes in the mentoring and teaching of, and informal discussions with, KPS children.