School Reform Office announces CEO for East Detroit Public Schools

Contact: Caleb Buhs,
Agency: Technology, Management & Budget

June 17, 2016


State School Reform Officer Natasha Baker appointed Gary Jensen today to oversee the turnaround of four East Detroit Public Schools. Jensen will begin taking action as CEO to rapidly improve academic outcomes in the chronically underperforming schools immediately.


“Gary Jensen has demonstrated the ability to quickly turn around student performance in a Michigan Priority School,” said Baker. His leadership as principal at Lakeview High School moved them from a persistently low-achieving school to a school with some of the largest proficiency gains among all Priority Schools in the state. His work provided a model for other struggling districts to follow.”


Jensen replaced the principal at Lakeview High, located in Montcalm County, in 2010, when the school was named a Michigan Priority School. Each subsequent year, Lakeview’s student performance increased, making more progress in student proficiency rates than most schools on the priority list. His efforts at Lakeview earned him Michigan Principal of the Year honors in 2014.


The intention to appoint a CEO to oversee Bellview Elementary, Pleasantview Elementary, Kelly Middle and East Detroit High schools was announced in February. Each of the four schools have been identified in the lowest performing five percent of all Michigan schools at least one cycle, with the high school identified for improvement eight times. Student proficiency has declined in all subject content areas since each school was identified as a Priority School.  Beginning in the 2008-2009 school year, the district has seen enrollment declines across all four schools.


As CEO, Jensen will have full authority over personnel and curriculum along with the responsibility to work with the district superintendent to create lasting change. He will be held accountable for rapid turnaround by Baker, with student achievement reports being submitted and reviewed every six to eight weeks.


After moving to the Department of Technology, Management and Budget in May of 2015, the SRO began analyzing academic data for schools on the priority list to determine which schools required another level of accountability beyond the oversight that was already taking place.


The State School Reform/Redesign Office was created in 2010 to establish policies and procedures for turnaround in struggling schools. Gov. Snyder issued an Executive Order in March of 2015 moving the SRO to DTMB to put a renewed focus on this effort, helping turn around the state’s lowest achieving schools. Per state law, the office’s focus is on the lowest-performing five percent of the state’s schools, with interventions that target student achievement as measured by student proficiency and standards mastery. 

For more information about the Michigan State School Reform/Redesign Office visit

Related Documents
Gary Jensen Biography w Signed CEO Recommendation and Contract PDF icon