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Rocketship Public Schools has appointed an executive director for its Wisconsin region, which consists of two high-performing charter public elementary schools serving a concentration of students from disadvantaged backgrounds in North and South Milwaukee.
Kadeem Gill, previously Managing Director of Exceptional Student Education at Breakthrough Public Schools, will now oversee all aspects of the school network in the region. Gill is a career educator who brings deep experience in classroom, school, and network leadership to Rocketship. Gill’s tenure at Breakthrough Public Schools was marked by partnership with families, leadership on increasing diversity in hiring, and commitment to serving students of all abilities with excellence, which helped to steer the organization to new heights of impact.
“Kadeem’s life proves the power of choice in public education. Kadeem understands firsthand the devastating consequences of a lack of educational opportunities for all kids, as he was chosen to attend a gifted and talented school while his brothers remained behind in a poor performing local school. Kadeem ended up at Princeton, while one brother was lost to gun violence and another to prison,” said Ralph Weber, Chairman of the Board of Rocketship Public Schools Wisconsin. “Kadeem’s record of achievement and experience, along with his passion for equity in education, impressed the entire board. As we launch new efforts to overcome enduring achievement gaps for Milwaukee children and their families, we are thankful Kadeem will be leading Rocketship Public Schools Wisconsin.”
Gill was chosen for the leadership position after a selection committee screened a wide variety of candidates of different backgrounds. Board Chair Ralph Weber led the search committee, with assistance from a diverse panel of Rocketship leaders from both the regional and national level. Rocketship parents interviewed Gill and participated in our selection process as well.
“What school system is going to allow you as a parent, especially as a new parent to come in, be on a committee and to actually interview the senior most leader of the organization? It was so uplifting and made me feel that the organization really cares about me and my opinion as a parent,” said Ieshia Wiggins, parent at Rocketship Transformation Prep. “And I am so excited for Kadeem’s leadership! It was an easy pick for me because Kadeem has everything we need in Milwaukee. All of us collectively as a parent committee were unanimous that he was it.”
Gill is a proven leader in eliminating achievement gaps for low-income students of color. During his tenure at Breakthrough and in spite of the challenges of remote instruction due to COVID, the network supported scholars with exceptional learning needs to increase proficiency in literacy and math by 8 percentage points. The team also decreased the number of scholars performing two or more grade-levels below by 18 percentage points in both subjects. Prior to Breakthrough, Gill was the Senior Director of Special Populations at Explore Schools in Brooklyn, New York, where he led a team of network-based and school-based leaders to achieve a 5-year charter renewal as well as outstanding student academic growth. Gill began his educational leadership journey serving as special education director at the Equity Project Charter School in New York’s Washington Heights neighborhood, and taught special education for many years in the Bronx.
“We are so excited to have someone of Kadeem’s caliber, experience, and passion leading Rocketship Wisconsin in its next phase of excellence and impact,” said Preston Smith, Co-Founder and CEO of Rocketship Public Schools. “Kadeem is not only a pedagogical expert, but his personal experiences and deep connections with our communities make him an even more powerful, authentic leader. Kadeem embodies the mission of Rocketship Public Schools to unleash the potential of students, staff, and families.”
Gill attended Princeton University, earned a Master’s Degree from Hunter College in Special Education, a Master’s Degree in Educational Leadership from the Bank Street School of Education, and is currently working on his Educational Doctorate Degree in Leadership and Innovation from New York University.
“I started my career as a special education teacher because I wanted to help students that society too often gives up on,” Gill said. “That shared mission is what drew me to Rocketship. At Rocketship, we serve a majority of students of color, students living in poverty, and students whose families are immigrants or refugees. We work to unleash the potential inside of every student that we serve, and when our students go on to attend other middle and high schools, they enter those schools prepared to succeed, with parents who know how to advocate for their students. I’m excited to help Rocketship continue to excel here in Milwaukee, Wisconsin so that more students have access to a high quality public education at the elementary school level, which benefits our entire system of public education.”
About Rocketship Public Schools
Rocketship Public Schools is a nonprofit network of high-performing public elementary (K4 through 5th grade) charter schools serving disadvantaged communities across the country. The organization launched in 2007 with a vision to eliminate the achievement gap in every community it serves. Rocketship schools consistently rank among the top 10% of all public schools serving similar student populations.Through its high-performing public school model, Rocketship Public Schools propels student achievement, develops exceptional educators, and partners with parents who enable high-quality public schools to thrive in their community. Visit http://www.rocketshipschools.org/ to learn more.