The School District of Philadelphia is comprised of a staff of highly qualified and dedicated individuals. Every one of our staff members plays an important role in the success of our schools. To highlight some of our exemplary staff, we have included brief bios of our leadership team members on this page.
William R. Hite, Jr., Ed.D. Superintendent
Dr. William R. Hite Jr., was named Superintendent of The School District of Philadelphia on June 29, 2012.
Dr. Hite’s professional experience includes serving at every level – teacher, principal, central office administrator and Superintendent. Prior to joining the District, Dr. Hite was Superintendent of Prince George’s County Public Schools in Maryland, the state’s second-largest school district and one of the 25 largest districts nationwide. He also served as the school system’s Deputy Superintendent and Interim Superintendent. Dr. Hite led major efforts resulting in increased student achievement and significant improvements in teaching, learning and school status. His central work focused on enhanced access, equity and rigor to ensure that all high school graduates were prepared for college and careers. The Prince George’s County school system received national recognition for expanding access to Advanced Placement courses during his tenure.
Dr. Hite previously served as an Assistant Superintendent in Georgia’s Cobb County School District where he provided support for the 103,000 students. He has also served as director of middle school instruction and middle and high school principal in Henrico County, Virginia. Under his leadership, Highland Springs High School was honored as a “Best Practices” center by the Virginia General Assembly.
In addition, Dr. Hite has been an adjunct faculty member at the University of Richmond School of Continuous Learning and taught school leadership courses at Virginia State University, Bowie State University and the University of Maryland. A member of numerous national, state, and local boards, Dr. Hite has participated with national agencies and associations to reform K-12 education.
Dr. Hite received a Bachelor of Science degree in education from Virginia Tech and a master of education degree in educational leadership from the University of Virginia. He earned a doctorate in education specializing in educational leadership from Virginia Tech.
Dr. Hite’s interests include music, travel, sports and reading. He and his wife Deirdre have two daughters and a grandson.
Follow Dr. Hite on Twitter @SDPHite
Naomi Wyatt Chief of Staff
Naomi Wyatt is the Chief of Staff to the Superintendent for The School District of Philadelphia. In this role, Naomi serves as the chief aide to the Superintendent and partners with the Superintendent to create a culture of change and an active learning work environment across the central offices.
The Chief of Staff provides strategic support and program management to the Superintendent and senior leadership team; liaises between the Office of the Superintendent and all other central offices, including the Charter School Office; and is responsible for coordinating and facilitating the internal operations of the Office of the Superintendent. In addition, Naomi is responsible for the coordination and implementation of the District’s Action Plan, having an emphasis on communicating the plans and priorities to internal audiences, and, she oversees strategic labor relations decisions and supports executivelevel hiring.
Prior to being named Chief of Staff, Naomi served as the District’s Chief Talent Officer from July 2013 through July 2015. As the Chief Talent Officer, Naomi oversaw the District’s human resource functions as well as the recruiting, hiring, development and retention of all district staff, including teachers, principals and executives. She was also the member of the Superintendent’s Cabinet responsible for all talent related strategies and actions.
Naomi has a background in state government, having served in Governor Edward G. Rendell’s cabinet as Secretary of Administration and as the Governor’s Deputy Chief of Staff. As the Secretary of Administration Naomi was responsible for the Commonwealth’s policies and operations in the areas of Human Resources, Information Technology and Continuity of Government. Before working for the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, Naomi was a litigation attorney at Ballard Spahr in Philadelphia. Naomi has also worked in the nonforprofit arena serving as the Camden Coalition of Healthcare Provider’s Deputy Executive Director and the Director of Legal and Governmental Affairs. At the Coalition, Naomi directed the Coalition’s legal affairs, managed its contractual relationships, oversaw all administrative functions of the organization and developed new grant funding sources and programs.
Naomi is a graduate of Yale College, where she earned a B.A. in English; and the University of Colorado at Boulder, where she earned her J.D. Between college and law school, Naomi spent two years in Mississippi teaching high school English as a member of Teach for America.
Naomi serves on the Board of Need in Deed and is a past board member of Independence Charter School and of the Pennsylvania Employee Benefits Trust Fund (PEBTF).
Karen J. Kolsky, Ed.D. Assistant Superintendent of Neighborhood Network 6
Karen Kolsky is serving as the Interim Chief, Neighborhood Schools. Dr. Kolsky has had numerous roles and responsibilities within the District that include teacher, principal, deputy and assistant superintendent. Her work has been guided by ensuring that there is effective leadership in every school and effective teachers in every classroom.
Dr. Kolsky also served as the District’s Executive Director of Leadership & Professional Development. As the Executive Director of Leadership and Professional Development, Dr. Kolsky directed the Academy for Leadership in Philadelphia Schools, an aspiring principals program funded in partnership with The Broad Foundation. In concert with that work was a partnership with the University of Pennsylvania and the Distributed Leadership Initiative, a project written by the University of Pennsylvania, funded by the Annenberg Foundation.
Dr. Kolsky grew up in North Philadelphia and proudly attended District schools. She received her undergraduate degree from Temple University and Master’s Degree from Arcadia University. Dr. Kolsky earned her doctorate from the University of Pennsylvania. Her research focused on the Principals’ Effect on Teachers’ Instructional Practices in Kindergarten through Grade Eight in Urban School Settings. Her research has been used in multiple capacities within the District.
Cheryl Logan Assistant Superintendent of Autonomy Network
Cheryl Logan currently serves as the Assistant Superintendent for the Autonomy Network. Previously she was the Assistant Superintendent for Learning Network 5 and 7. Ms. Logan has served as a high school and elementary school principal, assistant principal and teacher. She is a doctoral candidate at the University of Pennsylvania.
Chris Lehmann Assistant Superintendent of the Innovative Network
Chris Lehmann is the Assistant Superintendent for the Innovative Network and the founding principal of the Science Leadership Academy, a progressive science and technology high school in Philadelphia, PA. SLA is considered to be one of the pioneers of the School 2.0 movement. The school is the Dell Center of Excellence for Technology in Education. From 2009-2012, the school was been recognized as an Apple Distinguished School and was named one of the Ten Most Amazing Schools in the US by Ladies Home Journal. In 2013, Chris co-founded the non-profit, Inquiry Schools, to help more schools create more empowering, modern learning experiences for students, and he serves as Chair of the Board.
Chris is the 2014 winner of the McGraw Prize in Education. In June 2013, Chris was named Outstanding Leader of the Year by the International Society of Technology in Education, and in November of 2012, Chris was named one of Dell’s #Inspire100 – one of the 100 people changing the world using social media. In September of 2011, Chris was honored by the White House as a Champion of Change for his work in education reform. In June 2010, Chris was named as one of the “30 Most Influential People in EdTech” by Technology & Learning Magazine. He has written for many education publications and has spoken at conferences all over the world, including TEDxPhilly, TEDxNYED, and the International Society of Technology in Education Conference and has worked with schools all over the country. Chris is co-editor of What School Leaders Need to Know about Digital Technologies and Social Media, co-author of Building School 2.0: How to Create the Schools We Need, author of the education blog Practical Theory: http://www.practicaltheory.org and father to Jakob and Theo.
Christina Grant Assistant Superintendent of the Opportunity Network
As a first generation college graduate, Christina Grant recognizes that education is the key to success and social mobility. Christina got her start in education as a public school teacher through Teach For America in Harlem, NY. She later taught at the first KIPP school in the Bronx. Christina is the past Executive Director of NYCAN, an education advocacy organization. She also served at the New York City Department of Education where she was responsible for school portfolio management.
Most recently, Christina served as the founding Superintendent of the Great Oaks Foundation, a charter management organization that launches schools in communities of high need. In this role, Christina supported and coached principals, managed professional development, monitored performance evaluations and served as the external face for the organization.
Christina holds a Master’s Degree in Organizational Leadership from the Teachers College of Columbia University, and also holds degrees from Fordham University and Hofstra University. Christina serves on the Board of Directors of Democracy Prep Endurance Middle School and Great Oaks Charter School – Wilmington. She is an active member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority.
As Assistant Superintendent for the Opportunity Network, Christina works to ensure that Philadelphia’s students have access to an excellent education, regardless of their circumstances.
Eric J. Becoats, Ed.D. Assistant Superintendent of the Turnaround Network
Dr. Eric J. Becoats joined the School District of Philadelphia in 2015 as the Assistant Superintendent of the Turnaround Network.
Becoats has served as an education professor, charter school administrator, strategic educational consultant, district level administrator and superintendent. Becoats’ expertise has benefited and supported students in Maryland, North Carolina and Illinois. In recognition of his accomplishments, Becoats was honored by the National Alliance of Black School Educators as the Joseph E. Hill Superintendent of the Year in 2012.
Becoats has developed and implemented programs that support minority males and remains passionate about reclaiming at-risk youth. Since he began his career in education, Becoats has been a catalyst for positive change and has developed the expertise for actualizing organizational visions.
Becoats brings to his work in Philadelphia a deep commitment to putting the needs of students first, and has a track record of consistently improving academic outcomes for all children.
A native of Baltimore, Maryland, Becoats holds a doctorate in educational leadership from the University of North Carolina at Charlotte, a master’s degree from Johns Hopkins University, and a bachelor’s degree from Lincoln University, Pennsylvania.
Donna Frisby-Greenwood Chief Executive Officer of The Fund
Donna Frisby-Greenwood serves as the first President and CEO of the Fund for the School District of Philadelphia. She previously served as director of college and career awareness for the School District of Philadelphia, before her most recent position as Philadelphia program director for the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, where her work focused on retaining talented people and expanding economic opportunity in the city.
Donna Frisby-Greenwood began her career in 1988 as an urban 4-H extension agent with The Penn State Cooperative Extension in Philadelphia. In 1990 she co-founded and served as Executive Director of Children First, Inc., a leadership development and civic education program for low income urban adolescents. In 1994 she became a Special Assistant to HUD’s Assistant Secretary for Policy and Research as a National Urban Fellow. Subsequent positions have included Executive Director of Rock the Vote and Executive Director of the After-School All-Stars Philadelphia.
Donna Frisby-Greenwood is a graduate of the University of Virginia and holds a Masters of Public of Administration from Baruch College/CUNY.
Follow Donna on Twitter @DAFrizzG
Sophie Bryan Chief External Relations Officer
Sophie Bryan joined the School District of Philadelphia in 2012 and currently serves as the Chief External Relations Officer. In that role, she oversees the teams responsible for communications, advocacy, government relations, and external engagement.
Prior to her current position, Sophie served as Director of the Strategy Delivery Unit in the Superintendent’s Office, Special Assistant to the Superintendent, and Director in the Charter Schools Office.
Before joining the School District, Sophie was Chief of Staff to Philadelphia Councilman At-Large Bill Green, serving as Green’s primary advisory on public policy matters. Sophie's work focused on budgetary issues – including a successful lawsuit against the City to keep neighborhood branch libraries open when the City proposed to close them – tax policy, ethics, and campaign finance reform.
Before transitioning to public policy, Sophie practiced law, primarily as a legal services attorney for low-income clients, first in Boston and then in Philadelphia. Sophie served for five years as an adjunct professor at the Drexel University Earle Mack School of Law, teaching an upper-level writing course, and also has secondary school teaching experience.
Sophie is a native Philadelphian, graduated from Harvard College and Harvard Law School, was a founding board member of PhillyCORE Leaders, and participated in the Pennsylvania Center for Progressive Leadership as both a fellow and a coach.
Follow Sophie on Twitter @SophieBryan1
Melanie S. Harris Chief Information Officer
Melanie S. Harris joined the School District of Philadelphia in 1999 and currently serves as the Chief Information Officer. In that role, she oversees the team responsible for all aspects of technology delivery and support for schools and administrative offices.
Prior to her position as Chief Information Officer, Ms. Harris served as the Executive Director of Information Systems and the Director of Systems and Applications. In those roles, she was responsible for the development and implementation of an online technology strategy, as well as, building a more customer service oriented approach to support schools.
Ms. Harris has always upheld the mission to provide students and teachers with the technology and tools that are essential for learning and achievement in the 21st century classroom, and equally important, providing school administrators and teachers with the data and reporting tools necessary for critical decision making and governance.
Ms. Harris received her Master's in Business Administration from Eastern University and her Bachelor of Arts in International Relations from St. Joseph's University.
Click here to link to the Office of Information Technology and Data Management website.
Fran Burns Chief Operating Officer
Fran joined the District as Chief Operating Officer in July 2013. With 18 years of public sector experience, Fran’s background encompasses operations, economic development and public sector finance. She has held various public sector positions including Executive Director of the Pennsylvania Intergovernmental Cooperation Authority, Commissioner of the Philadelphia Department of Licenses and Inspections. She also held positions as Assistant Budget Director and Assistant Managing Director for the City of Philadelphia.
Fran also served as Executive Director of the Manayunk Development Corporation and started her career working for the City of Philadelphia Commerce Department. Fran has an undergraduate degree in Political Science as well as a Master’s Degree in Public Administration from Villanova University.
Karyn T. Lynch Chief of Student Support Services
Prior to joining the School District of Philadelphia, Lynch served as the Chief of Student Services at Prince George’s County Public Schools. As the Chief of Student Services, Lynch managed the division’s departments of Guidance Counseling Services, Family and Community Outreach, Health Services, Homeless Education, Safe and Drug Free Schools and Character Education, as well as the Office of Student Appeals, and the Office Business and Community Relations.
Lynch received her Master’s in Public Administration from Columbia University and holds a Bachelor of Arts in Government from Dartmouth College. She was awarded the Governor’s Citation for Excellence in Leadership and the Woman of the Year Award in 2008.
DawnLynne Kacer Executive Director of Charter Schools
DawnLynne Kacer joined The School District of Philadelphia in 2015 as the Executive Director of the Charter Schools Office. In this role she utilizes her experience in charter school accountability and oversight, Board governance, school and classroom evaluation, and charter school operations to oversee the District’s charter school portfolio. Previously, she led the charter schools office for the New York City Department of Education and prior to that was an education leadership fellow in the District of Columbia. During her fellowship she supported the executive team of a six-school charter management organization focused on school operations performance improvement. DawnLynne has also conducted program evaluations of K-12 classroom grant implementations in Chicago and Athens, Georgia assessing the impact and efficacy of small school and teacher grants to improve educational outcomes. She also served as a certified juvenile court officer hearing cases of abuse, neglect, and foster care permanency in Georgia.
Prior to being selected for the Broad Residency in 2013, DawnLynne was a Senior Consultant serving public sector clients in the areas of healthcare, governance, data analytics and information technology. Primarily, she offered state and federal government agencies policy and operational recommendations for the implementation of national health care reform initiatives.
In addition to a Masters of Education Leadership from the Broad Center for Management of School Systems, DawnLynne earned her Masters of Public Policy from The University of Michigan’s Ford School and also has a BBA in International Business as well as a BA in Sociology from The University of Georgia.
DawnLynne is a product of public schools at all levels and will utilize her diverse social services experiences in education, healthcare, juvenile delinquency, and foster care to ensure that high-quality public education options are equitably accessible to all K-12 students.
Michael A. Davis General Counsel
Mr. Davis has served as the General Counsel of The School District of Philadelphia since July 7, 2010. He heads and manages the Office of General Counsel which is responsible for providing legal advice and representation for the School Reform Commission (SRC), the Superintendent, School District officers, and other employees. The General Counsel also is responsible for engaging and managing the services of outside counsel retained on an as-needed basis, and he serves as the Assistant Secretary of the SRC.
Mr. Davis brings to this position more than thirty-seven years’ experience across a broad spectrum of the legal profession, including service as Chief Counsel of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania’s Department of Education from 1980 through 1983, and as General Counsel and Vice President for Legal, Human Resources and Compliance for Wordsworth Academy from 2002 through 2009. With facilities in Philadelphia and Fort Washington, Wordsworth provides behavioral health, child welfare, and special education services for special needs children and adolescents.
Mr. Davis also was an associate and later a partner at the Philadelphia law firm Blank Rome from 1977 to 1980 and from 1983 to 1988, specializing in management-labor relations, employment law, education law, and litigation. From 1988 through 2002, Mr. Davis held the positions of Senior Counsel, Employment Litigation for CIGNA Corporation, and later Chief Counsel and Vice President for Legal, Government Affairs and Compliance for Intracorp, a CIGNA subsidiary providing specialty healthcare programs and services.
Mr. Davis holds a B.A. with Honors in English from Haverford College, and a J.D. from Harvard University Law School.