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Cleveland Heights-University Heights City School District

CH-UH Board of Education Selects Elizabeth Kirby as Superintendent

Elizabeth Kirby with HMS studentsMarch 14, 2019 -- The Cleveland Heights-University Heights Board of Education has selected Elizabeth Kirby as the district’s next superintendent. The Board voted unanimously at a special meeting on Thursday to offer the position to Ms. Kirby. 

The Board is now authorized to negotiate and execute an employment agreement with Ms. Kirby, who would likely begin her tenure in CH-UH on Aug. 1, 2019.

“We selected Ms. Kirby because we are confident she is committed to the key values of our current strategic plan: equity, engagement, and enhancing relationships with our staff, families, and community. We believe she will build upon this foundation, without starting over, to move our district to the next level in improving student outcomes,” said Board of Education President Jodi Sourini. “She brings a proven track record of raising student achievement and closing learning gaps in a diverse community similar to ours. She did this by aligning assessments with curriculum and streamlining the number of assessments being used -- providing teachers and staff with useful and actionable information while reducing the amount of instructional time lost due to testing.

“We want to thank our teachers, students, staff, administrators and community members for participating in our search process. We read every candidate impression sheet that was turned in. We appreciate the significant time everyone invested in getting to know our candidates and providing us with feedback.”

Ms. Kirby was one of four finalists who each spent a day in the district last week meeting with staff, students, Board members, and the community.

“I am excited about the opportunity to return home to Northeast Ohio and lead a district that is rich in diversity and in opportunities for students,” said Ms. Kirby in a statement following the Board’s announcement. “I truly felt at home during my day in CH-UH when meeting the students, staff, and community members. I am impressed with the great work happening in the schools. I look forward to working with all stakeholders to build upon the momentum created through the district’s strategic plan and guiding mission.”


Ms. Kirby currently serves as Chief of School Strategy and Planning for Chicago Public Schools, a role she has held since July 2015. She has spent the past 23 years in Chicago Public Schools as a teacher, principal, and central office administrator. 

She started first as a history teacher at Olive-Harvey Middle College High School before transitioning to administrative roles as assistant principal and then head principal at Kenwood Academy from 2003-2012.

Ms. Kirby was elevated to Network Chief in 2012, overseeing the implementation of school improvement plans to drive student achievement in networks that serve 18,000 students.

Elizabeth Kirby at the CH-UH community meetingIn her current role as Chief of School Strategy and Planning, Ms. Kirby provides strategic guidance to 656 district, charter, and contract schools and also oversees the district’s 18 Network Chiefs, or regional superintendents, to support principals in building and sustaining strong schools.

Ms. Kirby is a native Clevelander who grew up in the Shaker-Buckeye neighborhood and graduated from Hawken School. Ms. Kirby attended Harvard University where she earned a Bachelor of Arts degree with a special concentration in urban studies. She went on to earn a Master of Arts in Social Science from the University of Chicago. 

Ms. Kirby is expected to lead the district beginning in the 2019-2020 school year. Longtime CH-UH administrator Dr. Brian Williams will continue to serve as the interim superintendent until she begins.

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