Glenda Ritz, who ended her term as Indiana schools chief in January, has quietly started an education consulting business after months of keeping a fairly low profile.
Ritz is now the president and CEO of Advancing Public Schools, according to the group’s website. Its mission is to help public school boards in Indiana and across the country promote their schools’ work as well as analyze and fill gaps in literacy and reading programs.
“My work at the state level increased my resolve to continue to work with public schools,” Ritz said in a letter on the organization’s website.
Ritz rose to power in 2012 after she upset then-superintendent Tony Bennett, becoming the only Democrat elected to a statewide office at the time.
She consistently had the backing of the state’s teachers unions and earned praise as a champion for teachers and public schools. But her administration saw a number of political battles with then-Gov. Mike Pence and Republican lawmakers, and in November, she lost her seat to Yorktown superintendent Jennifer McCormick.
In her new role, she has some familiar colleagues. Former Deputy Superintendent Danielle Shockey also serves as a consultant, along with three other former educators and education advocates.
Because Ritz recently left public office where she oversaw and regulated schools, state law doesn’t allow her to be paid by Indiana school districts until January 8, 2018. The group’s website says she can work, however, with districts outside the state immediately and, in the meantime, gather feedback and have preliminary talks with Indiana school boards that might be interested in working with the organization in the future.
Some of the organization’s areas of focus build on aspects of Ritz’s tenure as state superintendent that she said she was most proud of, such as work she did to help struggling school districts improve and to create a statewide reading program for kids and families.
“I want to make sure that children know that literacy has to be a part of their lives, always,” Ritz told Chalkbeat during her 2016 campaign. “It can take them on different paths, but being a great reader and communicator and problem-solver is really what it is all about.”