Superintendent, Kalamazoo Public Schools

Michael F. Rice, Ph.D.


Dr. Michael F. Rice has been the superintendent of the Kalamazoo Public Schools (KPS) since 2007. During this time, with the Kalamazoo Promise as a springboard, the district has started full-day pre-kindergarten and quintupled the number of full-day kindergarten students; improved student achievement in reading, writing, and math; doubled the number of students taking Advanced Placement (AP) courses and almost tripled the number of AP courses that students take; and increased high school graduation rates, as well as college-going and college graduation rates.

During the same period, the district has grown by more than 1,300 students (roughly 13 percent); increased from 22 to 26 schools; added a dual language elementary school, an alternative middle school program, and an alternative high school program; and built three completely new schools and one partially new school, as well as additions onto two middle schools. The district has also begun a mentoring program that served 1,696 students with weekly mentoring in 2016-17, its second year in existence.

Prior to serving as KPS superintendent, Dr. Rice served for five years as superintendent of the Clifton Public Schools in Clifton, New Jersey. Among his honors are the presidency of Michigan’s urban schools association, the Middle Cities Education Association, in 2013-14, and the Michigan Superintendent of the Year Award from the Michigan Association of School Administrators (MASA) in 2016.

Dr. Rice began his career as a high school French teacher and award-winning speech and debate program founder and coach in the Washington, D.C. Public Schools (DCPS). He earned a bachelor’s degree in psychology with honors from Yale University and a master’s degree and doctorate in public administration with honors from New York University.

Dr. Rice has appreciated the opportunity to serve on a number of boards, commissions, and committees including, among others, the Middle Cities Executive Committee, the MASA State School Reform Commission (SSRC), the Steering and Technical Committee of the state School Finance Research Collaborative, and the board and executive committee of Communities in Schools—Kalamazoo. His most rewarding work, however, comes in mentoring and teaching of, and informal discussions with, KPS children.