Detroit deputy superintendent gets top job in Cincinnati schools

A headshot of Iranetta Wright, deputy superintendent in the Detroit Public Schools Community District who was selected Feb. 28, 2022 to be the superintendent in Cincinnati Public Schools.

Iranetta Wright, deputy superintendent of schools in the Detroit Public Schools Community District, will take on the top leadership position in the Cincinnati school district this spring.

Wright, an educator for nearly 30 years, was selected Monday as the next superintendent for  Cincinnati Public Schools, Ohio’s third-largest school district. The announcement came after a six-month search. Wright was a finalist alongside two other candidates.

“I couldn’t be prouder of Ms. Wright,” said Detroit Superintendent Nikolai Vitti in an email, describing her as “exceptionally bright”, “hardworking,” and “a fighter for children whose families do not always have the resources or networks to advocate for a stronger public education system.”

Wright was a top administrator in the Duval County Public Schools in 2017 when Vitti was the superintendent there. When Vitti was hired to lead the Detroit district, she soon followed and took on a top administrative role as the district emerged from nearly two decades of state control and the school board sought new leadership that could turn around the district. In the Duval district, Wright had been a teacher, principal, and chief of schools.

Wright is expected to begin her new job in May.

“I thank the [Cincinnati Board of Education] for their decision and belief in my ability to lead our District to the next level as we make Cincinnati Public Schools the public school choice for children and families of our city,” said Wright in a statement following the announcement. “I’m looking forward to leading this district. We’re going to hit the ground running to learn, grow, and develop together.”

During her tenure as Detroit deputy superintendent, Wright oversaw the daily operations of the district’s 107 schools, including managing principals, counseling services, discipline, public safety, and athletics. 

She also led the district’s efforts to overhaul its programs for students with special education needs, and addressed issues with transportation, academic instruction, as well as the program’s ability to identify and provide services to students. 

Wright also led efforts to better identify and serve students who are experiencing homelessness by ensuring each school appoints a person to serve such students and providing staff training. Since 2017, the district has increased the number of students identified as homeless from 600 to nearly 1,900. 

Vitti said that he and Wright had been discussing her future as a superintendent for the past couple of years, and that her departure should not come as a challenge for the district’s administrators.

“This has always been the plan,” he said. “Organizational structures have already been adjusted in the anticipation of this transition.”

Senior administrators from within the school district will take over the departments and work that Wright oversaw, Vitti added, instead of the district conducting a search for outside school leaders. Those changes should be announced shortly, he said.

Ethan Bakuli is a reporter for Chalkbeat Detroit covering Detroit Public Schools Community District. Contact Ethan at

The Latest

Researchers think there is potential for artificial intelligence to aid in identifying students who might have previously gone unrecognized.

The Illinois Workforce and Education Research Collaborative’s recent report found that 14% of students took at least one dual credit course in the 2021-22 school year.

In his first two years, New York City schools Chancellor David Banks has made literacy his focal point. Will budget cuts threaten his progress?

Katy Anthes will lead a book study and offer private and small group coaching to help school district leaders and others tamp down heated rhetoric.

Board President and Vice President Reginald Streater and Mallory Fix-Lopez will remain in their roles for the time being. Mayor-elect Cherelle Parker could pick new board members.

Denver Public Schools is spending federal COVID money on a curriculum of mental health activities to help reduce students’ anxiety.