New Detroit public schools leader Vitti promises change

- The new Detroit public schools superintendent is laying out his vision for the new school year.

Detroit Public School Community District leader Dr. Nikolai Vitti made it clear that on his watch failure is not an option at a packed auditorium Tuesday.

"I'm for K-12 traditional public education," Vitti said. "My entire life has been about creating equal opportunity, proving people wrong and using that vehicle to create change." 

As the former superintendent of Duvall County Public Schools in Florida, Vitti has also worked as a principal and teacher. 

"Emergency managers were political appointments - who were not educators," he said. "You cannot change, rebuild or even lead an educational system if you have not taught."

Vitti's school district is facing a critical shortage - teachers.

"A system that is run with knowing that teachers are your most important employees, never get to this place," he said.

Vitti says he working on various solutions to combat the problem including holding teacher recruitment fairs.

"At this point next year we'll be in a completely different more positive place," he said. "Because we will recruit throughout the year to make sure that at the beginning of the year we're fully staffed."

Vitti also heard concerns from the audience. One person asked, “Are you willing to sue the state for ... responsibility for taking over a school district that had no need to be taken over?"

Right now I'm more in the fact finding process," he said. "I do believe the state needs to be held accountable for decisions that it has made in past."

Vitti had plenty to say about charter schools.

"As we rebuild and improve the school district, I think charter schools are going to become less relevant in this city and more children are going to move out of charter to traditional public schools. After all, charter school advocates have talked about competition. Well guess what, DPSCD is ready to compete."

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