With a career that spans the entertainment industry, software, and education, Derek brings a unique and sometimes controversial perspective on what it takes for our most challenged schools to achieve academic excellence for each child. Born and raised in Chicago, IL, Derek received his BA in Writing from Pomona College in Claremont, CA, and later earned a Ph.D. in Educational Psychology from the University of California, Los Angeles. While at UCLA, he worked at the Center for Research on Evaluation, Standards and Student Testing (CRESST), helping to pioneer school and district information management systems and data-driven technologies. He then served as the Director of Technology and Student Achievement for the Oakland Unified School District where he addressed equity-related challenges in assessment, technology and achievement. Subsequently, Derek joined the Stupski Foundation and managed efforts to support district-wide reform across the country, including efforts in districts such as Jackson Public Schools in Mississippi and the Baltimore City Public Schools System in Maryland. Before taking the helm of Partners in School innovation in June of 2009, Derek served as Executive Director of the Opportunity Zone in Prince George’s County in Maryland where he led critical efforts to instill innovative school options as a core component of district-wide reform. Currently CEO of Partners in School Innovation, a nonprofit dedicated to working hand-in-hand with teachers and leaders to strengthen teaching, learning and achievement in under-performing public schools and districts, Derek has led the organization to dramatic growth while improving the quality and consistency of the organization’s supports to teachers and leaders. His work designing and implementing exceptional school and district transformation efforts, and his technical expertise in developing holistic and effective school accountability systems, has placed Partners on the forefront of organizations with proven approaches to supporting some of our country’s most challenged schools and districts. When not working toward educational equity, Derek enjoys science fiction, martial arts and movies.
“If we don’t stand for something, we may fall for anything.” – Malcolm X