- Dr. Michael F. Rice - State Superintendent


Michael RiceOn May 7, 2019, the Michigan State Board of Education voted to appoint Dr. Michael F. Rice Michigan superintendent of public instruction.  Dr. Rice officially began his work as state superintendent on August 1.

For the preceding 12 years, Rice had been superintendent of the Kalamazoo Public Schools (KPS).  During his superintendency, the district:

  • Grew by 1,300 students (approximately 13 percent).
  • Improved student achievement in all board-approved academic goal areas: reading, writing, math, Advanced Placement participation and success, and graduation rates.
  • Opened a dual language (English-Spanish) elementary school.
  • Opened a middle school alternative learning program.
  • Opened a second alternative high school.
  • Passed three bonds.
  • Spearheaded a countywide special education millage.
  • Constructed its first three new schools since 1972.
  • Quintupled the number of full-day kindergarten students.
  • Almost doubled pre-kindergarten.
  • Implemented diverse classroom libraries in district elementary schools

Additionally, during his tenure, the district:

  • Took 1,000-plus first graders three times each year to the Kalamazoo Public Library to teach children about the importance of libraries, reading, and books.
  • Gave 1,000-plus sixth graders a day on the campus of Western Michigan University to teach them about college life and to share the district’s collective belief that all students were capable of graduating from high school and continuing with postsecondary education.
  • More than doubled the number of students taking Advanced Placement (AP) courses.
  • Almost tripled the number of AP courses that students take.
  • Increased the numbers of African American, economically disadvantaged, and Hispanic/Latino students taking AP courses by 313 percent, 402 percent, and 1212 percent, respectively.
  • Increased every year the number of students getting college credit on the end-of-year AP tests.
  • Increased six years in a row the percentage of students getting college credit on the end-of-year AP tests.

In summer 2005, just before the announcement of the Kalamazoo Promise, 454 students graduated from KPS. In summer 2018, 692 KPS students graduated from high school.

In June 2010, President Obama gave the commencement address at Kalamazoo Central High School, the prize for winning the First Annual Race to the Top Commencement Challenge for efforts toward the establishment of a college-going culture.  At the time, the district’s four-year graduation rate was 63 percent.  Eight years later, the rate had increased to over 75 percent, with the five-year rate in excess of 80 percent.

In summer 2015, Rice announced that he would begin to mentor a group of young men at Phoenix High School and challenged other administrators, staff, and community to mentor as well. In 2018-19, more than 400 mentors mentored more than 1,300 students in more than 11,000 weekly mentoring sessions. 

Prior to serving as Kalamazoo superintendent, Rice served five years as superintendent of the Clifton Public Schools in Clifton, New Jersey.

Rice began his career in the Washington, D.C. Public Schools, where he taught high school French and founded and coached awarded-winning speech and debate programs.  He served as a cabinet-level administrator in the D.C. Public Schools, the Fort Wayne Community Schools, and the Lansing School District.  Rice 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.

Among his honors have been 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.