DETROIT – Detroit Children’s Fund (DCF) announced today the appointment of Jack Elsey as executive director. Elsey brings 13 years of experience in public education to his new role.
“DCF has attracted a strong team to drive its mission of ensuring Detroit children have exceptional learning and development opportunities. We could not be more pleased to have Elsey at the helm,” said KC Crain, DCF board chair and president & COO of Crain Communications Inc. “His conviction that every child deserves a first-rate education and the achievements he’s led toward this vision make him an outstanding fit for the team.”
“Jack has led classrooms, schools and districts to stronger academic results. His proven experience in improving education for children is complemented by a strong intellect, great relationships, an energetic spirit, and an uncompromising commitment to excellence,” said Tonya Allen, Detroit Children’s Fund board member and Skillman Foundation president & CEO.
Elsey began his career as a middle school teacher in the South Bronx as a Teach for America corps member. He went on to hold a leadership positions with several urban schools districts where he focused on school turnaround efforts.
Most recently, Elsey served as the chief schools officer for the Education Achievement Authority of Michigan (EAA), a district charged with turning around some of Detroit’s historically lowest performing schools. Under his leadership, EAA schools showed improvements in several areas: student growth results outperformed state averages, suspensions were reduced by 30 percent, and school culture was strengthened through the creation of small learning communities. Elsey has also served as an assistant superintendent for Detroit Public Schools, and chief schools officer of Detroit Rising College Prep Schools where he introduced governing councils and site-based management controls to empower nine low-performing neighborhood high schools.
Elsey has also served as chief of innovation and incubation at Chicago Public Schools where he helped establish a common evaluation system across schools of all governance types, equalized funding for charter and alternative schools, and more than doubled the number of seats serving opportunity youth. While in Chicago, Elsey also led a broad coalition of school leaders, funders, and policymakers to create the Commitment to Quality, a city-wide agreement to improve charter school performance. In the span of two years, the number of Chicago charter schools on the “warning list” was reduced from 10 to three.
Elsey holds an undergraduate degree from Wake Forest University and master’s degrees in teaching and education leadership from Pace University and The Broad Center for the Management of School Systems, respectively. In 2016, he was named as a Future Chief with Chiefs For Change.
“I am excited and honored to have been selected to lead the Detroit Children’s Fund. Detroit’s comeback will be complete only when every school in the city is high quality,” Elsey said. “We at DCF intend to help make that happen by growing the best schools in Detroit, recruiting national high-performing schools to join us, and investing in our most promising future leaders to ensure our schools continue to improve for many years to come.”
“In our work, we have the privilege to meet talented and passionate people who dedicate themselves to supporting children. Jack is a prime example,” said Nick Karmanos, chief advancement officer of the Detroit Children’s Fund. “He works from the heart, has strong vision, and is a thoughtful collaborator. We’re delighted to have him lead the team.”