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Akron Public Schools selects Christine Fowler-Mack as next superintendent

A graduate of East High School, Fowler-Mack has worked in education for over 20 years and currently holds a top administrative position in the Cleveland district.

AKRON, Ohio — Akron Public Schools has a new superintendent, with Christine Fowler-Mack being named to the top job on Friday.

The school board voted to offer Fowler-Mack the position during a meeting late Thursday night, making her the first female superintendent in APS' 174-year history. The 55-year-old will replace Dr. David W. James, who is retiring in June after 13 years leading the district.

Fowler-Mack released the following statement:

"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. 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."

A graduate of Akron East High School, Fowler-Mack began her career as an APS teacher back in the 1990s before becoming an assistant principal and principal in both Kent and Cleveland Heights-University Heights. She spent nearly a decade as a top administrator in the later district and even served as acting superintendent in 2009 before leaving for the Cleveland Metropolitan School District a year later.

Since 2013, Fowler-Mack has been CMSD's Chief Portfolio Officer, overseeing roughly $124 million in funds while also leading the district's COVID-19 response. During her tenure, pre-kindergarten enrollment and high school graduation rates have seen sizeable increases, while chronic absenteeism is down.

"Christine is a dedicated educator and a steady leader," Mike Magee, CEO of Chiefs for Change (which recently named Fowler-Mack a "future chief), said. "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."

Fowler-Mack takes over at a time of immense change and growth for APS, which opened LeBron James' I PROMISE School back in 2018 and is currently in the midst of an $800 million initiative to upgrade facilities across the district.