William Hite, who will step down in June as Philadelphia’s public school leader, has been named the inaugural superintendent in residence and executive fellow at the Broad Center at Yale University’s School of Business for the 2022-2023 school year.
On July 1 he will also begin his new job as CEO of the national education nonprofit KnowledgeWorks. It’s unclear if he will remain in Philadelphia.
In his position at Yale, Hite will lead content facilitation where he will moderate discussions and introduce activities for the cohort in the Fellowship for Public Education Leadership program during the 2022-23 school year
Hite also will teach in and support the master’s in public education management degree program and be charged with providing mentorship to members interested in district leadership roles.
The departing school leader has said he will remain in his role during the search process to find his replacement. When he announced his resignation in September, after serving for almost ten years, Hite said he would remain in Philadelphia until the end of this school year.
Leaders at Yale thought Hite’s background in taking on issues of race and equity in the classroom made him a frontrunner for the fellowship.
“From his laser focus on equity and inclusion to his innovative approaches to effecting meaningful change in underserved communities, he has proven himself to be a paragon of transformational leadership,” said Hanseul Kang, assistant dean and executive director of The Broad Center at the Yale School of Management.
In 2020, Hite wrote an open letter to the school community that grew into an antiracism program, the Equity Coalition, which is a participatory, inclusive group that would set recommendations around what the district’s equity work should be. The effort is aligned with the school board’s strategic plan in its “goals and guardrails.”
“With COVID, we were all virtual. We saw that was traumatic for many of our young people and for our city. Our leadership team had begun some general equity work; then we had the horrendous murder of George Floyd,” he said in an interview with Yale last year. It was the last straw, he said then.
“His impactful, inclusive, and imaginative approach is very much in keeping with the Yale School of Management’s mission to educate leaders for business and society,” said Kerwin K. Charles, an economics professor at Yale.
Though Hite has sought to bring equity to the district, efforts to enhance the selective admissions process have received pushback. In addition to a lottery, preference is given to students from five city ZIP codes that have sent few students to selective schools. The aim of the new system is to make the demographics at the most prestigious schools more reflective of the district’s student population, which is primarily Black and Latino. Student applicants who qualify from targeted ZIP codes and choose selective schools are automatically accepted.
But some angry parents have argued that the new process also has caused problems, as some students this year received no offers at their selected schools.
“I wish to congratulate Dr. Hite on being appointed as Yale School of Management’s inaugural superintendent-in-residence, effective at the end of June,” said Board of Education President Joyce Wilkerson in a statement Monday. “We remain grateful for his continued leadership and service to the school district. Hite is a key part of the plan to onboard his successor.”
The search to find Hite’s replacement is on schedule, according to Wilkerson. Following the finalist announcement next month the school board is expected to invite the final candidates to Philadelphia for a series of meetings where the public will have the chance to address them. A final announcement is expected in the spring.