Dr. Keisha Scarlett is the superintendent of St. Louis Public Schools. The district serves 20,000 students across 60 schools. Scarlett was previously assistant superintendent of academics for Seattle Public Schools (SPS), where she worked for 24 years. As assistant superintendent, she 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 and careers. Between 2019 and 2022, graduation rates in SPS dramatically increased for students of color, multilingual learners, and students receiving special education services.

Before that, Scarlett was 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. 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 80 percent proficiency across multiple grade levels in reading and writing on state exams.

In 2020, Scarlett was part of a group that provided then-President-elect Biden’s transition team with guidance for reopening schools amid the Covid pandemic.

Before her career in education, Scarlett worked for a large aerospace company. She earned her doctorate and principal certification from the University of Washington, her master’s in education from Heritage University, and her bachelor’s from Clark Atlanta University.