Darienne Driver has been announced as the new president and CEO of United Way for Southeastern Michigan, effective July 9.
Driver is superintendent of the Milwaukee Public Schools (MPS) and will retain this position until July 6. As the first African American woman and youngest person in the city to hold the position of MPS superintendent, she has initiated reform measures to improve student outcomes. Before becoming superintendent, Driver was MPS’ first chief innovation officer and, in schools with the greatest needs, narrowed the achievement gap. Other positions Driver has held include deputy chief of empowerment school, and coordinator of strategic management and accountability, both in the School District of Philadelphia, and special assistant to the superintendent at Clayton County Georgia Public Schools. Her career in education began in the Detroit Public Schools as an elementary school teacher.
Driver holds a doctorate in the Urban Superintendent Program and a master’s degree in education from Harvard University, a master’s degree in curriculum development from the University of Michigan, and an undergraduate degree in child development from Spelman College in Atlanta.
“There was no shortage of exceptional applicants vying for the role of president and CEO,” says Mark Petroff, board chair, United Way for Southeastern Michigan. “The board was deliberate in finding just the right fit, and Dr. Driver’s impressive track record as a visionary, her passion for children’s education and community service, along with her connection to this community made her the right person to lead this 100-year institution forward into the next phase of creating lasting impact for those we serve throughout the tri-counties.”
Currently, Driver is chair for the Council of the Great City Schools, is a member of the Harvard University Board of Overseers, and a member of the Executive Committee for Milwaukee Succeeds. Additionally, she has been on a number of boards of directors including City Year Milwaukee, and the United Way of Greater Milwaukee and Waukesha County as chair of the Volunteer Engagement Committee. Driver also was named Most Valuable Person by the Boys and Girls Clubs of Greater Milwaukee in 2017.
Tanya Heidelberg-Yopp served as the organization’s interim CEO during the three-month nationwide CEO search. She will resume her position as COO. Driver replaces Herman Gray, who left the position in December to become the chair of the department of pediatrics at Wayne State University School of Medicine.
United Way for Southeastern Michigan works with Macomb, Oakland, and Wayne counties. It is led by a group of volunteers from business, labor, government, human services, education, and the community.