Pittsburgh Public Schools hires Wilkinsburg leader as deputy superintendent

Board brings Donna Micheaux back as deputy superintendent

The board of Pittsburgh Public Schools on Wednesday night appointed a new deputy superintendent, naming Donna Micheaux, a former district administrator who became the substitute superintendent in Wilkinsburg about two months ago.

The board voted without comment. All members were in favor of Ms. Micheaux's appointment except board member Mark Brentley Sr., who said he was abstaining because he was unable to attend the executive session.

Nearly a year ago, then deputy superintendent Jeannine French resigned to become superintendent of Peters Township School District.

Last week, Pittsburgh lost another top administrator, Jerri Lynn Lippert, chief academic officer, who will become superintendent of West Allegheny School District on July 1. The board Wednesday accepted her resignation, effective June 30, and discontinued the position.

Ms. Micheaux, who begins July 1, has a two-year position with annual pay starting at $158,400. She will be eligible for an annual performance increment of up to $2,000 and an annual achievement bonus of up to $15,000.

While at Wilkinsburg since the end of March, Ms. Micheaux remained an employee of the Allegheny Intermediate Unit where she was assistant executive director for organization leadership and development.

Ms. Micheaux started her career in Pittsburgh Public Schools as a special education teacher and held various administrative positions.

She became a lead district liaison and fellow for the Institute of Learning at the University of Pittsburgh, which included leading partnerships with several districts, including Pittsburgh.

She also helped to develop literacy initiatives in several urban school districts.

She has worked as a consultant for the state Department of Education and as the chief of schools officer in the Dallas Independent School District in Texas from September 2007 to November 2011.

Ms. Micheaux holds a bachelor's degree in special education from Indiana University of Pennsylvania, a master's degree in education from Pitt, and a doctorate in administrative and policy studies, also from Pitt. She is a graduate of the Broad Superintendents Academy and is a certified Stephen Covey trainer.

Asked how she feels about taking Ms. Micheaux away from Wilkinsburg after a short period, Pittsburgh Superintendent Linda Lane said, "Clearly my primary concerns are the children of the city of Pittsburgh although I know Wilkinsburg will certainly feel her loss. But we're excited to have her here. I think she'll be a great add for our team."

Ms. Micheaux will begin her new job July 1 although she will meet with some district staff members before that, Ms. Lane said.

In Wilkinsburg, Ms. Micheaux replaced Lee McFerren, who was hired as superintendent in July 2013 but was placed on administrative leave in March. Mr. McFerren is to remain on leave until June 26, at which time the district will buy him out of his contract for $115,000, the cost of one year's salary and benefits.

Wilkinsburg was expected to appoint Ms. Micheaux acting superintendent, a position she could have held for up to one year, after Mr. McFerren's leave ended. In the meantime, the Wilkinsburg school board was to seek a permanent superintendent.

While Ms. Lane has been the superintendent of Pittsburgh since Jan. 1, 2011, there have been various top administrative changes.

In April, the board appointed Connie Sims as chief of school performance for a term of May 1, 2014, through June 30, 2016. Her annual salary is $144,000, with the possibility of an annual performance increment of $2,000 and an annual achievement bonus of up to $15,000. Ms. Sims previously had worked on a contract and acting basis for the district.

In the first eight months of 2013, eight top central office administrators in Pittsburgh Public Schools resigned or retired, including Ms. French.

Education writer Eleanor Chute: echute@post-gazette.com or 412-263-1955. First Published May 28, 2014 9:27 PM

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