May 10, 2023 - Education

Eric Gordon passes baton to new CMSD chief

Eric Gordon (L) and Warren Morgan (R) shake hands in front of a Cleveland Metropolitan School District banner.

Eric Gordon literally passed a baton to Warren Morgan, playing on the metaphor he deployed at this year's State of the Schools address. Photo: Sam Allard/Axios

Warren Morgan has been named the next CEO of the Cleveland Metropolitan School District.

Why it matters: Morgan, current chief academic officer of Indianapolis Public Schools, will be tasked with building upon the legacy of longtime schools chief Eric Gordon while restoring learning loss and other "sharp setbacks" from COVID-19.

  • With nearly 36,000 students, CMSD is the second-largest school district in the state.
  • Its National Assessment of Educational Progress test scores last year were the worst in the nation, with 15 and 16 percentage point declines in fourth grade math and reading, respectively, since 2019.

Driving the news: At a press conference introducing Morgan yesterday, students and parents who participated in the interview process described him as warm, approachable and empathetic.

Flashback: Gordon announced in September that he would retire at the end of the school year. He said the district's sound organizational and financial position made it an optimal time for a transition.

Between the lines: Both finalists for the position, Morgan and Ricardo Torres, previously worked at CMSD.

  • Gordon actually hired Morgan in 2014 as a network leader — a position Morgan described as a "mini-superintendent."

What they're saying: "That should be a signal of my personal confidence," Gordon said. "He has the talent to do this job. He also has the professional humility to understand that this is not an easy job, and he's not just going to return with simple solutions to complex challenges."

The bottom line: "I'm appointed as the CEO of the Cleveland Metropolitan School District," Morgan said. "So my top priority is [CMSD], making sure that the scholars in our jurisdiction have quality schools and quality ways that we measure them."

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