Akron Public Schools, Ohio’s fifth-largest public school district, has selected Christine Fowler-Mack, a member of the Chiefs for Change Future Chiefs leadership development program, as the district’s next superintendent. She is the first woman to lead the district. Fowler-Mack started her career as a classroom teacher in Akron more than 25 years ago. She currently serves as a top administrator with the Cleveland Metropolitan School District (CMSD).
“Education is not just my craft, it is my life’s passion, and expanding opportunity is what has driven me every day of my career,” said Fowler-Mack. “I started my career in Akron, and I am elated to return home and lead a district in a community that means so much to me. I have served in nearly every role in public school systems and continue to approach leadership with the heart and mind of a coach. I am ready and eager to work with the community to build on Akron’s strengths and turn challenges into opportunities.”
Fowler-Mack leads the portfolio planning, growth, and management division for CMSD, the state’s second-largest district. Since she started in that role in 2013, Cleveland has seen high-quality prekindergarten enrollment jump by nearly 75 percent, graduation rates increase by 22 percent, and chronic absenteeism decline by more than 20 percent. Additionally, Fowler-Mack is responsible for approximately $124 million in district funds and oversaw the successful design and implementation of a new governance model. She is currently leading the district’s response to COVID-19.
In recent years, Akron Public Schools launched an $800 million initiative to modernize facilities across the district, implemented College and Career Academies, and established the I Promise School in partnership with the Lebron James Family Foundation. The district has set a public goal to be the highest performing urban district in Ohio by embracing a strategy focused on rigorous teaching and learning, safe learning centers, and public engagement.
“Christine is a dedicated educator and a steady leader,” said Chiefs for Change CEO Mike Magee. “She doesn’t allow anyone to make excuses for her schools or her students. That focus and approach has helped produce clear results: higher graduation rates, increased enrollment in high-quality pre-K, and student improvement trends that outpace comparable districts. With more and more attention rightly focused on the long-term consequences of the pandemic, Akron needs a leader like Christine who is laser-focused on students and has a track record of working with the community to deliver results.”
Fowler-Mack was part of the fourth cohort of the Future Chiefs program. The program identifies talented, diverse emerging leaders and integrates them into a community of practice where they receive coaching and mentorship from members of Chiefs for Change and participate in a variety of other learning opportunities. For more on the Future Chiefs program, click here.
Fowler-Mack spent the first seven years of her career as a classroom teacher in Akron and the next half- decade as an assistant principal and principal in Kent City and Cleveland Heights-University Heights. She was appointed deputy director of educational services for Cleveland Heights-University Heights in 2001, was later promoted to serve as assistant superintendent, and led the district in an acting capacity in 2009. Fowler-Mack joined CMSD in 2010 as chief of staff and has been promoted several times over the past decade. She earned her bachelor’s and master’s degrees from University of Akron.
About Chiefs for Change
Chiefs for Change is a nonprofit, bipartisan network of diverse state and district education chiefs dedicated to preparing all students for today’s world and tomorrow’s through deeply committed leadership. Chiefs for Change advocates for policies and practices that are making a difference today for students, and builds a pipeline of talented, diverse Future Chiefs ready to lead major school systems.