Interim Superintendent for DPS named, teachers threaten strike
DETROIT (WJBK) - More changes are coming to Detroit Public Schools as the district's latest state-appointed leader named a new interim superintendent with one goal in mind: getting academics back on track.
Alycia Meriweather was appointed interim Superintendent on Monday by DPS Transition Manager,Judge Steven Rhoades. Meriweather fought tears as she accepted the position.
"I'm a lifelong Detroiter. I love the city and school district but more importantly I love the children of the city of Detroit," Meriweather said.
Rhoades said it was crucial to promote from within DPS to fill the position and Meriweather is more than qualified.
"Her skills and experience make her uniquely qualified to serve in this critical leadership position," Rhodes said.
Meriweather is a graduate of DPS and says she did not seek this position but her name was submitted by teachers and community members. She says she is ready for the challenges ahead.
"I have put together a plan for this week. Part of that is a schedule of meetings with key stakeholders," Meriweather said. "I agree and support judge Rhodes and everyone else who is calling for a return to local control as soon as possible."
However, not everyone is behind the new superintendent and the appointment. Some DPS educators say it's time for Judge Rhodes and his team to go.
"The choice today was a move to try to put a local face on the destruction of DPS and I think, in her heart, Ms Meriweather understood that and you could see that by Merriweather's tears," teacher and activist Nicole Conoway said.
Conoway says to make their position clear, efforts to organize a strike are underway
"Thursday there is a DFT union meeting where teachers are going with expectation of taking a strike vote," Conoway said.
The president of the American Federation of Teachers, Randi Weingarten, said that the teachers have done all they could to bring attention to the problem and are running out of options.
"I'm okay with trying to figure out how to get this conditions resolved and the fact is that teachers tried for so long to have these conditions heard and in utter frustration they sense we have to do something else," Weingarten said.