New Flint schools leader planning ‘amazing things’ for students

Published: Jun. 30, 2020 at 6:03 PM EDT
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(6/30/2020) - She worked her way up through Flint Community Schools and has just been named to the top job.

Anita Steward has served as the interim Superintendent since April when Dr. Derrick Lopez was put on administrative leave.

The School Board voted to fire him last Thursday and immediately named Steward as the district's leader.

“With each and every challenge, with each and every curveball that was thrown our way, we have figured out a way to make a lemonade out of lemons,” Steward said.

Steward is inheriting a cash-strapped district already in the red, a district of students who haven't been in a classroom since the coronavirus began and a district of families still recovering from the Flint water crisis.

“I want to be a part of making Flint even stronger than what it is now,” she said. “So we are planning some amazing things to keep building on top of that.”

Born and raised in Flint, Steward attended Flint Community Schools through high school. After college, she started her teaching career in the district as well. Steward taught in Flint schools for more than a decade, before receiving a promotion to assistant principal and then principal and most recently Assistant Superintendent.

The Board promoted her to the top of the ladder Thursday, after firing the previous Superintendent.

“I am super, super excited. This is - it's an honor,” Steward said.

Over the last several months of remote learning, she's served on the District Reopening Committee, alongside school board members, building administrations, central office staff, teachers and parapros.

Steward said in the fall, three options will be available for families

- face to face instruction,

- a mix of face to face and online learning,

- and online-only learning.

“They don't have to worry about sending their babies back to school if they're not comfortable with the particular situation,” she added.

When asked about getting the district out of the red, Steward pointed to the millage voters passed earlier this year, plus the comfort of those three learning options for Flint families.

“Families will see that Flint is thinking about the safety of their children, as well as thinking about what's best for their children academically. And so that will one -- make them want to stay with us; and if they are no longer a part of Flint Community Schools, that they will make the decision to come back to Flint Community Schools,” she said.

The district's enrollment campaign begins Wednesday, July 1.

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