Author Bio: Deborah McGriff is a partner at NewSchools Venture Fund, where she leads the firm’s Academic Systems Initiative, and contributes to investment strategy and management assistance for a variety of its portfolio ventures, including charter management and school turnaround organizations. She serves on the board of directors of Black Alliance for Educational Options, DC Prep, Friendship Public Charter School, National Alliance for Public Charter Schools, and Leadership Public Schools.
Deborah has been committed to transforming the lives of underserved urban school students for almost four decades. In 1993, Deborah became the first public school superintendent to join EdisonLearning (formerly Edison Schools). There, she held numerous positions at the company, including President of Edison Teachers College, Executive Vice President of Charter Schools, and Executive Vice president of several external relations functions.
Prior to joining EdisonLearning, Deborah served as the first female General Superintendent of the 200,000-student Detroit Public Schools. Crain’s Detroit Business named her Newsmaker of the Year for 1992. Before that, she was the first female Assistant Superintendent in Cambridge, Massachusetts and the first female Deputy Superintendent in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. She was a teacher and administrator in the New York City Public Schools for more than a decade. Deborah has never supported the status quo; she has always been an advocate of parental choice, quality teaching, and high-performing schools for all children.
Deborah is former President of the Education Industry Association, the leading professional association of education service providers. She currently serves on the board of the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools, where she also is an executive committee member, as well as founder and national board member of the Black Alliance for Educational Options. She also serves on the advisory boards of the National Council on Teacher Quality and of the Program on Education Policy and Governance at Harvard University’s John F. Kennedy School of Government, as well as the Technical Working Group for a national evaluation of the Federal Charter Schools Program being led by WestEd.
She holds a bachelor’s degree in education with a minor in history from Norfolk State University, a master’s degree in education with a specialization in reading pedagogy from Queens College of the City University of New York, and a doctorate in Administration, Policy and Urban Education from Fordham University.