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August 28, 2005|By Sara Neufeld

John Simpson

Occupation: Senior executive, the Stupski Foundation

In the news: Simpson will spend at least the next three years leading a team of experts from the foundation to improve Baltimore schools. They will work with the city schools on issues including improvement of plans at low-performing schools and better use of data to guide instruction. The goal is systemwide reform.

Career highlights: Simpson, 56, has been an educator for 35 years, working as a teacher and principal before becoming an administrator. He served as superintendent of schools in North Chicago, Ill.; Ann Arbor, Mich.; and, most recently, Norfolk, Va., where he is credited with improving minority student achievement. He left Norfolk to work for the California-based Stupski Foundation last fall.

Simpson, who was named the 2005 Virginia Superintendent of the Year, holds degrees from West Chester (Pa.) University, the University of Delaware and the University of Michigan.

Personal: Simpson's wife, Rita Simpson, is a principal in Virginia Beach, Va. They have one adult son who works as a paramedic in Pennsylvania.

Philosophy: "I really believe that every child deserves a very high-quality education. It sounds like a cliche, but I really believe every child can learn and succeed."

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