Dr. Nikolai Vitti was appointed as Superintendent of Detroit Public Schools Community District on May 23, 2017 on a five-year contract. In his first year, Dr. Vitti worked closely with the Detroit Board of Education to implement a 100-day plan that culminated with the development of a new Strategic Plan that focuses on raising student achievement, transforming the district’s culture, improving staffing, developing the whole child, and ensuring financial responsibility.
Since the creation and implementation of the Strategic Plan, the district has increased student enrollment for the first time in over a decade; outpaced the state for at- or above-grade level performance in literacy and mathematics; demonstrated the second highest improvement in 4th grade mathematics in the nation; restored art/music and physical education in all schools; increased teacher salaries by nearly $9K and reduced teacher vacancies; increased student attendance and decreased chronic absenteeism; initiated a Parent Academy that has engaged over 6,000 parents; and maintained three years of a balanced budget with a 10% reserve.
Throughout the COVID 19 pandemic, the Superintendent has led with the District’s Students First core value front and center. He was among the only large Districts in the state to offer families and teachers a choice about online and face to face learning models in the fall; implemented learning centers to offer students a safe, supervised learning environment; served over 1.5 million nutritious meals to families in need; and garnered philanthropic support of more than $23 million dollars to close the digital divide for students to learn online.
Before arriving in Detroit, Dr. Vitti led Duval County Public Schools (DCPS), the 20th largest school district in the nation with approximately 130,000 enrolled students in 200 schools, and a fiscal budget of $1.7 billion. During his four and a half years at DCPS, the district ranked among the first to fourth highest performing urban districts in the nation on the National Assessment for Education Progress. In addition, the district’s graduation rates increased from 67 percent in 2012 to 78.8 percent in 2016, surpassing all Florida urban districts in African-American graduation rates. Under Dr. Vitti’s tenure, DCPS was recognized for its expansion of the arts, foreign languages, innovative school programming, and mental health and progressive discipline strategies. Dr. Vitti also successfully secured more than $40 million in local philanthropy to transform the district’s historically lowest performing schools with a focus on human capital and technology infusion.
Dr. Vitti was previously chief academic officer of Miami-Dade County Public Schools, assistant superintendent for the Miami-Dade district and deputy chancellor at the Florida Department of Education. He also served children as a principal, dean of students, and teacher. He received a bachelor’s degree in history and a master’s degree in education from Wake Forest University. He also holds a master’s degree and a doctorate in education from the Harvard University Graduate School of Education.