CLEVELAND — The Cleveland Metropolitan School District has announced its choice for new CEO. After an eight-month search, Dr. Warren G. Morgan has been tapped to replace Eric Gordon, who is stepping down at the end of June.
“Words can’t describe how excited I am for this opportunity," Morgan said while he was formally introduced during a Tuesday morning press conference. "I’m extremely humbled, honored, but above all, just extremely grateful.”
Here's more about Morgan based on his previously released bio from CMSD:
"Dr. Warren Morgan grew up on Chicago’s south side and attended schools with demographics similar to CMSD. He worked for CMSD as a Network Leader for the District’s Phase 2 Investment schools from July 2014 through August 2016. In his current role as the Chief Academic Officer for Indianapolis Public Schools, Dr. Morgan oversees the academic vision, strategy, and policies of the district. Previously Executive Director of an education nonprofit in St. Louis, Dr. Morgan was a White House Fellow under U.S. Presidents Obama and Trump. He earned an Ed.D. in Urban Educational Leadership from the University of Illinois-Chicago."
We streamed his introductory press conference live, which you can watch in the video below:
After expressing his gratitude to multiple people throughout the room, Morgan told a story about why he does this kind of work.
"Growing up, my family provided a very firm foundation for us as kids," he said. "But at the end of my junior year of high school, I experienced a house fire – we did – and we lost everything. I spent my entire senior year of high school in a hotel. We were essentially homeless. Our family’s financial situation changed, and we struggled. Fast forward to the next fall when I attended college, I went to an excellent university – but it was the first time I felt like an other. There were not many students that looked like me, in fact I was one of the only Black males in my graduating class."
Morgan says he was told he didn't belong.
"One professor told me I had no substance -- and for the first time in my academic career I struggled with school. Despite the discrimination of some people on campus, I was provided an excellent education, there were programs that gave me a sense of belonging and there were some staff and professors on campus that believed in me. Only by the grace of God, that same campus that did not accept me when I first came on campus elected me student body president and Homecoming king my senior year."
He said there are some children here in Cleveland who are also facing personal challenges at home and school just like he did.
"If we do not provide a high-quality education and ensure that our students feel safe, seen, heard and valued, we will lose them and they will not be successful. I do this work for kids like me. Because if it weren’t for adults who believed in me and programs that made me feel connected to school, I wouldn’t be standing in front of you today and I don’t know where I would be. So, Cleveland students, teachers, leaders, staff, parents and communities, I’m back home and I cannot wait to do this work with you to ensure our scholars and CMSD always win win win no matter what. So buckle up. We have a lot of work to do. Thank you so much.”
Gordon announced last September that he will step down when the school year ends on June 30. Gordon, who has held the position of CEO of Cleveland schools since 2011, said he wanted to provide Cleveland Mayor Justin Bibb and the school board "with sufficient time to conduct a thorough, high-quality search for the next CEO."
"The conditions are precisely right to hand off the baton and to ensure that the next CEO takes forward the progress and momentum we have made and built together," Gordon said in his final State of the Schools address.
Gordon also spoke about the future of the district under Morgan's leadership during Tuesday's press conference.
"I know what this job is. He has the talent to do this job," Gordon said. "He also has the professional humility to understand that this is not an easy job, and that he’s not just going to return with simple solutions to complex challenges that face our young people, our caregivers, our educators. That, to me, is the right combination to be a successful, thriving next CEO.”
In November 2022, CMSD announced that it had retained Chicago-based Alma Advisory Group to help pick its next chief executive officer. The firm had previously handled searches for superintendents in Cincinnati and Denver, as well as executive positions within Chicago schools. The search included feedback from parents, students, and community members.
On April 20, the Cleveland Board of Education announced that it had narrowed down the field to two finalists: Dr. Ricardo "Rocky" Torres and Dr. Morgan. The district conducted two days worth of interviews, featuring panels of teachers, principals, students and staff members before making its decision.
Cleveland Teachers Union (CTU) President Shari Obrenski released the following statement after Morgan was ultimately selected for the role:
Congratulations to Dr. Warren Morgan on being named the next CEO of the Cleveland Metropolitan School District. We look forward to continuing our collaboration with Dr. Morgan as we all strive to do what is best for Cleveland’s children and their families.
This was a lengthy process and we appreciate the time and effort that both candidates gave in the multiple stakeholder interviews. Thank you to Dr. Ricardo “Rocky” Torres for your time and we wish you the best of luck in your future endeavors.
On behalf of the members of the Cleveland Teachers Union at Cleveland’s public schools, CTU thanks Eric Gordon for his dedication to Cleveland’s students and community. The CTU appreciates CEO Gordon’s leadership and devotion to our kids, our schools, and our community.