Dr. Nikolai P. Vitti

General Superintendent of Detroit Public Schools Community District

July 19, 2017

Rebuilding DPSCD

About the speaker

Dr. Nikolai P. Vitti is the new General Superintendent of Detroit Public Schools Community District, chosen by the newly elected DPSCD Board of Education in a unanimous 7-0 vote on May 9, 2017. Dr. Vitti brings to this position decades of expertise in education and improving academic performance for children. He is currently implementing his 100 Day Plan, which is focused on actively engaging internal and external stakeholders in problem-solving sessions to improve outcomes for all students. His initial focus will be to develop the district’s first strategic plan with the school board, increase district enrollment, address teacher shortages, and conduct a curriculum audit to improve literacy and student achievement.

A native of Metro Detroit, Dr. Vitti previously led Duval County Public Schools (DCPS) in Jacksonville, Florida. As the nation’s 20th largest school district, he served nearly 130,000 students within 200 schools through a $1.7 billion dollar budget.  Under his leadership, the school district reached an historic high in graduation and college readiness rates through the expansion of accelerated programming and early warning systems. DCPS also surpassed each of the seven large Florida urban school districts in African-American graduation rates; possessing the narrowest achievement gap between African-American and White students in reading, math, and Algebra; the participation of students in arts courses; and in the participation and performance of students in accelerated courses. The district also ranked among the first to fourth highest performing urban districts throughout the nation on the National Assessment for Education Progress in the vast major of reported categories. Dr. Vitti successfully secured $40 million dollars in local philanthropy to transform the district’s historically lowest performing schools with a focus on human capital and technology infusion.  Seventy-five percent of schools directly supported by these efforts maintained, exceeded, or improved to a “C” status, and ninety percent of “F” schools districtwide have improved their school grade performance. The district has maintained a “B” status for two consecutive years for the first time since 2010.  

Prior to being named Superintendent of DCPS, Dr. Vitti was the Chief Academic Officer of Miami-Dade County Public Schools (M-DCPS), the nation’s 4th largest school district in the country, which won the Broad Prize for Excellence in Urban Excellence.  Prior to serving as the district’s Chief Academic Officer, he was the Assistant Superintendent of the Education Transformation Office (ETO) where he autonomously led a region of 26 schools identified as “persistently lowest-achieving.” Under his leadership, the ETO schools improved their performance in nearly each area of school accountability and avoided state sanctions.  Under his leadership, ETO was recognized as a model for turnaround by both the USDOE/FLDOE.

Before returning to Miami to lead ETO, Dr. Vitti served as Deputy Chancellor of School Improvement and Student Achievement at the FLDOE as well as Bureau Chief of School Improvement/Executive Director for Region One/Lead Director.  He managed the Bureaus of School Improvement, Federal Education Programs, Family and Community Outreach, Federal Programs, Early Learning, Just Read Florida!, and Equal Educational Opportunities.  

Before joining the FLDOE, Dr. Vitti served as principal of Homestead Middle in M-DCPS, where he moved the school from a “D” to a high “B” and improved the school in each accountability area.  Before his appointment as principal, Dr. Vitti joined the cabinet of M-DCPS as the Knowledge Management Officer, where he was responsible for coordinating multiple district-wide initiatives. Prior to working in Miami, Dr. Vitti played an instrumental role in transforming the educational culture of a 4,000 student high school in the Bronx, New York as a Dean of Discipline.  Dr. Vitti began his educational career as a teacher at both the high school and middle school level in North Carolina and New York City where he notably raised student achievement in the classroom.

Dr. Vitti received the prestigious Presidential Scholarship from the Harvard Graduate School of Education, and was a member of the Urban Superintendent Program, which has developed a number of successful superintendents throughout the country.  He has served on the cabinet of three National Superintendents of the Year. In 2012, he completed his doctorate from Harvard in Education, Administration, Planning and Social Policy.  He received his masters in the same field from Harvard.  Dr. Vitti also holds a Masters in Education from Wake Forest University where he was awarded a Master Teacher Fellowship, and a B.A. in History.  As an undergraduate, he earned Magna Cum Laude and Phi Beta Kappa recognition.  Dr. Vitti is married with four school-age children.

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