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Roberson new Birmingham superintendent

By Lisa Brody

Dr. Embekka Roberson, who has been with Birmingham Public Schools since 2008, first as an elementary school principal, then high school principal and assistant superintendent for the district, was named the new Birmingham Public Schools Superintendent by a unanimous vote of the school board on Tuesday, June 8.

Roberson, a Black woman, is the first female and the first person of color to become superintendent of the Birmingham Public Schools district.

Pending completion of final contract negotiations between the board and Roberson, she will assume her new position July 6.

The search for a new superintendent for the district began in April, following the resignation of superintendent Mark Dziatczak February 23, following an extended medical leave of absence which began in October 2020. The search process included community surveys, formal board interviews by three candidate finalists as well entry plan presentations from the candidates, virtual site tours of home districts and stakeholder interviews.

Roberson became the assistant superintendent for Student Learning & Inclusion for the district in 2020 after being principal of Groves High School from 2017-2020. She was previously principal of Harlan Elementary School form 2008-2017; she began her career as a fourth grade teacher in Detroit Public Schools. In her current position as assistant superintendent for Student Learning & Inclusion, she oversees, coordinates, and supervises curriculum planning, implementation, and evaluation; assessment and standardized testing administration; program development and evaluation; career and vocational education; and professional learning for staff, and provides strategic leadership regarding diversity, equity, and inclusion initiatives.

During her final interview on June 1, Roberson presented a 90-day transition plan, which included four goals: safety, focusing on student health and safety priorities and social and emotional support for students and staff; academic achievement; community/stakeholder outreach, inviting stakeholders perspectives and voices to be heard, and with an effort towards building community connections; and looking at organizational needs, including central staffing needs, making sure all buildings are prepared for opening in the fall, and initiating the strategic planning process.

The desired outcomes of these goals are for a seamless transition as superintendent; a clear and shared understanding of work priorities; to create a summary report of key findings and recommendations and organizational plan for hiring central leadership personnel; and to develop a roadmap and timeline for the development of the district’s strategic plan. The first 30 days are geared towards listening, with full implementation within 90 days.


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