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St. Louis Public Schools announces new superintendent all the way from Seattle
St. Louis Public Schools announces new superintendent all the way from Seattle
St. Louis Public Schools announces new superintendent all the way from Seattle

Published on: 02/02/2023


ST. LOUIS — St. Louis Public Schools has selected its new superintendent.

The St. Louis Board of Education announced on Wednesday that it has appointed Dr. Keisha Scarlett as the next superintendent of St. Louis Public Schools. She will officially step into the role on July 1.

Scarlett was selected from three finalists of a national search that was launched after former Superintendent Kelvin Adams announced he would retire at the end of 2022.

“We are thrilled to announce such a talented, genuine and visionary educator will be the next superintendent of Saint Louis Public Schools,” said Board of Education President Matt Davis in a news release announcing Scarlett's appointment. “The Board’s goal in conducting a nationwide search was to find a leader who will build on our successes but also be laser focused in addressing our challenges. Dr. Scarlett possesses the perfect mix of skill, knowledge, and experience while also caring deeply for students, families, teachers, and staff.”

Scarlett stated in the release that she was honored to be chosen for the role. 

"The children in this great city are full of promise — and I know that with the right support, they can thrive in the classroom today and achieve their goals for the future," Scarlett said. "This community is resilient and has made important progress. Together, we will continue moving forward, until all students in Saint Louis are safe, cared for, and prepared with an education to take them wherever they want to go. A Saint Louis Public Schools education will be a ‘gateway to unlimited possibility.’”

Wednesday afternoon, 5 On Your Side asked Scarlett about the $160 million bond package the district has to work on building upgrades and security. We also asked what her plans were to see those through. 

She responded that she would address those plans in her first 100 days through creating meaningful partnerships across the city. 

"School safety issues are community safety issues so it's something that we all have to create solutions together," Scarlett said.

Scarlett will come from Seattle, where she has served Seattle Public Schools for 24 years and has been assistant superintendent of academics since 2021.

"There are some differences but definitely some familiarities," she told 5 On Your Side.

  • Seattle has 106 schools. St. Louis has 78.
  • Seattle has some 6,000 educators. St. Louis has around 3,400.
  • Of Seattle's 52,000 students, 46% are white. 14% are Black.
  • Of St. Louis' 19,000 students, 12% are white. 77% are Black.

Scarlett said she will highlight all students, regardless of background or learning ability, which is what she focused on in Seattle.

"What we don't want to have are segregated environments. We want to ensure that there are inclusive environments. All of us have gifts or talent and I think of us being part of a beautiful quilt or tapestry where everyone is connected," she said.

Shortly after the announcement of her hire, 5 On Your Side reached out to Scarlett's boss.

"The City of St. Louis is getting one of our finest," Dr. Brent Jones, superintendent of Seattle Public Schools, said. "She advocates for the right things. She's student centered."

"If I were to go survey your community right now....and I was to meet with your PTA presidents and the NAACP and local pastors, what would they tell me about Dr. Scarlett?" Brent Solomon asked Jones.

"They'd say she was one of ours. They would claim her as somebody that we've been proud of, the community has been proud of," he responded.

"I am proud of Dr. Scarlett and gutted that she'll be leaving us — our loss is your gain," Seattle School Board Member Leslie Harries told 5 On Your Side.

The new leader will sign a three-year contract and her yearly salary will be $268,000.

Interim Superintendent Dr. Nichole Williams will continue in her role until Scarlett takes over in July.

Author : Kelsi Anderson , Travis Cummings, Brent Solomon

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