The Providence School Board today voted unanimously to appoint Christopher Ndeki Maher as Interim Superintendent of Providence Schools after a collaborative search process between the Board and the Mayor. Maher will assume the role immediately upon the departure of Dr. Susan Lusi at the conclusion of the school year.
Maher comes to Providence from Mass Insight Education, the public education consultancy firm that has worked closely with the capital city’s school district to increase student achievement. The firm recently completed an audit that concluded PPSD’s central administration must be transformed before it can meet the goals of the school district.
Maher is currently Mass Insight’s president, and was the firm’s vice president from 2012 to 2014.
“I am very pleased with the Board’s unanimous decision to appoint Chris Maher as Interim Superintendent. The main priority of our collaborative search process was to find an interim superintendent who will continue to move Providence schools forward,” Mayor Jorge Elorza said. “Chris is a proven leader who shares my vision for raising academic achievement, engaging our community and creating a school department that serves our students and families effectively. I am confident he will provide the leadership and experience we need to begin plans for restructuring central administration and helping the district move towards school-based autonomy.”
“Chris Maher has helped guide the Providence Public School District’s current strategic direction, and has played an integral role in assessing central administration’s function,” said School Board President Keith Oliveira. “He has demonstrated creative, thoughtful and collaborative leadership styles – all qualities the Providence School Board was looking for in the interim superintendent. Because of his familiarity with the district and key personnel, the Board and Mayor Elorza feel Chris will transition seamlessly into the district.”
Prior to his work at Mass Insight, Maher worked as a principal, teacher and public school advocate in many leadership capacities. From 2009 to 2011, he served as the Deputy Chief Academic Officer at Friendship Schools in Baltimore, Maryland, overseeing all instructional and operational activities at four public schools serving over 2,400 students. Previously, Maher served as the City of Baltimore’s Coordinator of Charter Schools, and was the founding principal of the Academy for College and Career Exploration.
Maher holds a Graduate Certificate in School Administration and Supervision from Johns Hopkins University, and a Master of Public Administration from New York University. He earned his bachelor’s degree from the College of Wooster in Wooster, Ohio.
The Providence School Board and Mayor Elorza began searching for an interim superintendent days after Superintendent Lusi’s announcement to resign her post effective June 30, 2015. Candidates were interviewed by the Board and the Mayor.
Maher will serve as interim superintendent for one year while the Board conducts a comprehensive search for a permanent superintendent. The Board plans to release a timeline for the permanent search in the coming weeks. The permanent search process will offer multiple opportunities for community stakeholder engagement. Maher is eligible to apply for the permanent position and must go through the entire process adopted by the Board and community.