Interim State Superintendent Appoints Pearson as State School Reform Officer

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

November 20, 2018

LANSING – Interim State Superintendent Sheila Alles announced today the appointment of William Pearson, 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).

Pearson has spent the past 23 years as a local superintendent at the South Lyon, Mount Clemens, and St. Johns school districts. He will begin his work at MDE effective December 3.

“After an extensive search, we are excited to announce that Bill will be coming on board to bring his experienced leadership to assist our Partnership Districts,” Alles said. “His impressive track record will keep us moving forward in this collaborative work and continue our efforts to make Michigan a Top 10 education state in 10 years, by helping lift our most struggling schools and improving the outcomes of all Michigan students.”

Pearson has been a teacher, principal, and district-level administrator, with a proven record of leading student achievement; and financial and academic turnarounds. He has been an adjunct professor at Eastern Michigan University, Oakland University, and Mercy College.

“After 40-plus years as an educator, administrator and superintendent, I am excited to join the fine staff at the Michigan Department of Education,” Pearson said. “I look forward to collaborating with all Partnership Districts on our common goal of improving student outcomes. By working together, we can address the various challenges facing our districts.”

State law requires the State Superintendent to hire a state school reform/redesign officer (SRO). The previous SRO, Dedrick Martin, Ed.D., resigned this past summer to become the superintendent at Caledonia Community Schools. Deputy State Superintendent Kyle Guerrant has been filling in as Interim SRO since then.

The State School Reform Office was incorporated last year with that of the department’s 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.

Pearson has a distinguished career of education and civic engagement and received many awards for his work at the local and regional levels. Among those honors, he was selected Region 9 Superintendent of the Year by the Michigan Association of Superintendents and Administrators (MASA) in 2012; served on the Eastern Michigan University Leadership Advisory Committee; was an Executive Board member of the Tri-County Alliance for Public Education; past-President of the Oakland County Superintendent’s Association; received the MASA Winner’s Circle Award; and received the SEMCOG/Metropolitan Affairs Coalition Center for Joint Public Services Outstanding Project Award.