CINCINNATI -- The Cincinnati Board of Education promoted the second in command to superintendent of Cincinnati Public Schools Tuesday.
The board chose Catherine Laura Mitchell, the district's deputy superintendent, over the other finalist, Andre Spencer, superintendent of Harrison Public School District Two in Colorado Springs, Colorado. The board voted after conducting final interviews.
Mitchell takes over when Mary Ronan retires Aug. 1.
“My highest priority will be to accelerate academic achievement throughout our district and properly prepare our students to compete globally," Mitchell said. I intend to work collaboratively with students, parents, staff, business leaders and members of the community to ensure that all of our schools are good schools and that all of our students have opportunities for excellence.”
Mitchell told WCPO Monday that one of her priorities is making sure students from less affluent neighborhoods are not forgotten in the process of growing the district.
"This is a district I grew up in, so this is very personal to me," said Mitchell, who graduated from the School For Creative and Performing Arts. "That's actually something that we're going to work on and have been working on, so that our neighborhood schools have the type of rich programming our magnet schools have."
As deputy, Mitchell led implementation of the Elementary Initiative, which raised achievement in the district’s 16 lowest performing elementary schools, and My Tomorrow, a comprehensive college and career readiness initiative, according to a CPS release.
Mitchell takes over a school system in the process of expansion -- a levy approved in November added $48 million to the district's budget, and nearly a third of that money has been allocated to extending the availability of area preschools.
A search firm hired by the district selected Mitchell and Spencer from a field of 58 candidates representing 40 states, according to CPS. The field included 44 men and 14 women.