February 1, 2023
Keisha Scarlett Selected as Superintendent of Saint Louis Public Schools

The City of Saint Louis Public Schools Board of Education in Missouri has selected Keisha Scarlett, a member of the Chiefs for Change Future Chiefs leadership development program, as the district’s next superintendent. Scarlett is currently assistant superintendent of academics for Seattle Public Schools (SPS). She has been with SPS for 24 years and has served as assistant superintendent since 2021.

“I am honored that the Board of Education has chosen me to lead Saint Louis Public Schools,” Scarlett said. “The children in this great city are full of promise—and I know that with the right support they can thrive in the classroom today and achieve their goals for the future. This community has resilience and has made important progress. Together, we will continue moving forward, until all kids in Saint Louis are safe, cared for, and prepared with an education to take them wherever they want to go. A Saint Louis Public Schools education will be a ‘gateway to unlimited possibility.’”

As assistant superintendent in SPS, Scarlett implemented a strategic plan to increase early literacy among African American boys and other students furthest from educational justice. She also oversaw initiatives on advanced coursework to ensure young people graduate prepared for college, career, and community. Scarlett previously worked as the district’s chief of equity. In that role, she co-founded the Academy for Rising Educators (ARE)—a tuition-free educator preparation program—in partnership with Seattle Central College and the City of Seattle Department of Education and Early Learning. Today, ARE serves more than 300 aspiring educators of color and has a 90 percent retention rate.

Other prior positions with SPS include executive director of organizational development, human resources director, principal, and teacher. During her time as principal of South Shore PK-8 School, Scarlett developed an accelerated mathematics pathway for students in grades three through eight. In 2014, 25 percent of eighth-grade students were two years advanced in math, and all of those students met/exceeded standards on the state’s Algebra I and Geometry end-of-course exams. Scarlett was selected as Washington State Middle-Level Principal of the Year and was recognized for leading South Shore to reach over 80 percent proficiency across multiple grade levels in reading, writing, and math on state exams.

“Keisha Scarlett has worked tirelessly to serve all students, but especially those with the greatest need,” said Chiefs for Change Chief in Residence Barbara Jenkins, who has coached Scarlett through the Future Chiefs program. “I know she will work closely with the school board and the entire district team to serve the students and families of Saint Louis.”

Scarlett is a member of the current cohort of the Future Chiefs program. Through the program, Chiefs for Change, a bipartisan network of state and district education leaders from across the United States, identifies talented, diverse emerging leaders and integrates them into a community of practice. Future Chiefs receive coaching and mentorship from superintendents, commissioners, and education system CEOs and participate in a variety of other relevant learning opportunities. To learn more about the Future Chiefs program, click here.

About Chiefs for Change

Chiefs for Change is a bipartisan network of diverse school superintendents and state education leaders. The network supports members and provides technical assistance; advocates for the adoption of effective policies and practices; and develops the next generation of bold, student-focused superintendents.