DEARBORN HEIGHTS — After the sudden resignation of the former superintendent earlier this year, the district has hired the district’s first African American superintendent.
Tyrone Weeks, who’ll begin his duties as superintendent on Jan. 1, earned a Bachelor of Science degree in secondary education, a Master of Arts degree in K-12 administration and a Ph.D. in educational studies from Eastern Michigan University and has spent nearly 18 years working as a public school educator working in various roles, including as a teacher, coach, assistant principal, principal, director of adult education and, most recently, as the director of state and federal programs, school improvement, school safety and Title IX compliance coordinator.
Being the first African American in this role shows the progress which many communities have embraced and display how race and other factors that were once barriers are now afterthoughts due in large part to a focus on inclusivity. I am honored to serve as the district’s new superintendent and look forward to the opportunity to engage with parents and students to continue the work of moving the district forward together. — D7 superintendent Tyrone Weeks.
Weeks is also a member of several professional and service organizations and enjoys reading and cycling. He and his wife, Stacia, a fellow educator and EMU alumna, have three children ages 11, 9 and 2.
Weeks told The Arab American News that his inspiration to become an educator came from various sources.
“I was inspired in large part due to my teachers as a student, as well as other mentors that guided me throughout my life,” he said. “I was fortunate to attend schools with teachers that did so much more than the proverbial cliché of pouring into their students; they went so much further. My teachers saw things in me that I did not see in myself and helped me to actualize a potential that has helped me throughout every aspect of my life and for that I will forever be grateful.”
The inspiration began as early as elementary school.
“From my elementary teachers, like Ms. Kopaz, that inspired me to enter the school spelling bee and try out for various school plays, her belief helped me to develop an intrinsic desire to learn and to believe that schools are more than brick and mortar, but an extension of the community,” he said. “As I went on to middle school, I did so with a foundation that helped me to navigate that unique space of childhood development. School became much more than just textbooks and curriculum; it was a place where students could put on full display their talents and creative interests through events like talent shows, school dances and sports teams that created an enthusiasm about school that permeated the hallways and cafeteria and gave meaning, which inspired me to become an educator. Being an educator has afforded me the opportunity to pay it forward into the lives of children through the platform of schools. I am indebted to it and have given all that I know to help schools become the safe places that protected me throughout my childhood.”
Citing his experience in the classroom and as a building and central office administrator, Weeks said he believes he is right for the position.
“I am grounded by several core principles that are first to do what’s in the best interest of children; service through collaboration; and we get much further together than we do as individuals,” he said. “I believe these assets are skills that will benefit our work as I join the Dearborn Heights school community.”
When Weeks learned of the vacancy and began researching the district, he said that the more he learned about the community, the lure of its special qualities excited him and led him to apply.
“Although I have primarily worked in large districts before applying for the D7 superintendency, I am a believer in the power and significance of community and Dearborn Heights has that community feel that made this position appealing,” he said. “My goals as superintendent begin with continuing to listen and learn of the needs of the community and to engage in visioning work as the district and community explore the next steps for our growth journey. I envision partnering with our stakeholders to identify our strengths and those areas that can be enhanced and working collaboratively towards achieving those goals. Additionally, a goal is to continue to meet the districts’ educators, community members and various stakeholders who make Dearborn Heights what it is today.”
As the first African American superintendent in the district, Weeks said being the first of anything is a tremendous accomplishment and responsibility.
“I am humbled to serve in this role and understand the significance of my appointment,” he said. “Being the first African American in this role shows the progress which many communities have embraced and display how race and other factors that were once barriers are now afterthoughts due in large part to a focus on inclusivity. I am honored to serve as the district’s new superintendent and look forward to the opportunity to engage with parents and students to continue the work of moving the district forward together.”
Interim Superintendent Dr. Mary Ann Cyr’s contract runs through the end of the year.