State Superintendent Appoints Martin as State School Reform Officer

Contact: Martin Ackley, Director of Public and Governmental Affairs 517-241-4395
Agency: Education

October 31, 2017

LANSING – State Superintendent Brian Whiston announced today the appointment of Dedrick Martin, Ed.D. to be the State School Reform Officer. In addition to his position as the State School Reform Officer, he also will be the director of the Office of Partnership Districts at the Michigan Department of Education (MDE).

Martin has been superintendent at St. Johns Public Schools since 2013, and prior to that, he was superintendent at Ypsilanti Public Schools from 2009-2013. He will be wrapping up this responsibilities at St. Johns through the end of the calendar year and beginning as the State School Reform Officer (SRO) in February 2018.

“Dedrick is a remarkable and experienced leader who will help lead the efforts to assist our Partnership Districts,” Whiston said. “This is a key position that will continue our work to make Michigan a Top 10 education state in 10 years – work that began over a year ago, with positive strategies being adopted in schools across Michigan.”

Martin has excelled in leading diverse school districts in both urban and rural/suburban communities. He played an integral role in the leadership team to successfully consolidate the Ypsilanti and Willow Run school districts in 2013. While at Ypsilanti, he oversaw the successful opening and implementation of the project-based Ypsilanti New Tech High School, one of six such schools in Michigan and identified as a National Demonstration Site from 2011-2013.

As Superintendent at St. Johns Public Schools, Martin corrected and restored the district’s fund balance from four percent to 11 percent within two years without a drop in academic performance, helping lead the district to record-high performances and academic growth on the MEAP and had several buildings make double-digit academic improvement on the latest round of M-STEP performance. Additionally, he recently led St. Johns through significant restructure of elementary buildings and instructional programming to lay the foundation for long term success.

“I'm extremely honored to be selected to work with Superintendent Whiston and schools across the state through the various Partnership Agreements,” Martin said. “I firmly believe that through collaborative efforts, focused support, and accountability, we can better address the numerous challenges facing schools in a manner more specific to the needs at the local level and not in a one size fits all fashion.”

Martin began his career as a Special Education teacher and building principal in Texas before moving to Illinois to be the Executive Director for Equity and Achievement at the Champaign Unit 4 school district.

Governor Rick Snyder returned the state School Reform Office to the Michigan Department of Education earlier this year. Prior to that, the SRO resided in the Michigan Department of Technology, Management and Budget.

With the return of the State School Reform Office back to MDE, Whiston incorporated its work with that of Partnership District Office, which assists struggling schools to put a broad spectrum of technical expertise and resources in the hands of the struggling school district, and allows local districts to use community and state-level support systems to drive improvement and self-accountability. The ultimate benefit would be to regenerate a struggling school to be one that helps students and teachers achieve at higher levels.

State law requires the State Superintendent to hire a state school reform/redesign officer (SRO). The previous SRO, Natasha Baker, resigned to take an administrative position at a Missouri school district.