Warren Simmons directs the work of the Annenberg Institute for School Reform (AISR) at Brown University and team-teaches a course in Urban Systems and Structure in Brown University's Urban Education Policy Master’s Program. AISR’s mission is to improve outcomes and practices in urban schools, especially those serving economically disadvantaged students. Before joining the Institute in 1998, he was founding director of the Philadelphia Education Fund, a reform support organization that helped the School District of Philadelphia to fund, develop, and implement new academic standards, content-based professional development, standards-based curriculum resources, and comprehensive school reform, as part of the Children Achieving reform agenda. Previously, at the Annie E. Casey Foundation, he developed and funded initiatives on community development and urban school reform. He also served as director of equity initiatives for the New Standards Project, a coalition of seventeen states and six school districts piloting the development of shared standards and assessments, and as special assistant to the superintendent of schools in Prince George’s County, Maryland, where he planned and/or implemented district-wide initiatives on improving the achievement of traditionally underserved students.
Dr. Simmons received a B.A. in psychology from Macalester College and a Ph.D. in psychology from Cornell University. He is a recent recipient of the Distinguished Citizens Award from the National Governors Association and has served on the advisory groups and boards of several prominent national organizations including the National Center on Education and the Economy, Public Education Network, the Merck Institute, the National Equity Project, PLATO Learning, Inc., and the Campaign for Educational Equity. In addition, he has served as a member of the California Collaborative, the Board of the College Crusade of Rhode Island, the Cowen Institute’s National Advisory Council, the Board of Directors for the Southern Education Foundation, and the Pew Forum. He was chair of the Rhode Island Urban Education Task Force, convened by Governor Donald Carcieri, and a member of the National Commission on Civic Investment in Public Education, convened by Public Education Network. He currently co-chairs the Aspen Urban Superintendents Network, and he was recently appointed by the National Research Council (NRC) to serve on the NRC's Committee on Strengthening Science Education Through a Teacher Learning Continuum. Additionally, Dr. Simmons was recently elected a trustee at Roger Williams University and a member of the Nellie Mae Education Fund board of directors.
From the Executive Director
Building a Movement from the Ground Up panel discussion, Education Writers Association annual seminar (2014) via Storify. Panelists Warren Simmons and Bob Brown (AFT), and moderator Linda Shaw (Seattle Times) offer research and individual perspectives on how community organizing and activism can make a difference in education.
Warren Simmons reflects on Brown University's Masters Program in Urban
Education Policy (UEP) in which he teaches: What is the summer practicum?
Why teach UEPs at Annenberg? (Summer 2013)
To commemorate the 20th anniversary of the Annenberg Institute in 2013, executive director
Warren Simmons sat down with us to answer questions about the history of AISR, developments in
education reform, and highlights from a recent meeting with US education secretary Arne Duncan.
In this video Warren Simmons answers the question:
"How has AISR changed since you were named exective director 15 years ago?"
More questions for Warren:
What key developments have taken place during the last two decades of education reform in the United States?
How would you characterize education reform today?
Can you share some highlights of your recent meeting with US Secretary of Education Arne Duncan?
Since Brown University's master's program in Urban Education Poicy was launched five years ago,
has your curriculum or approach changed?
Voices in Urban Education articles
VUE 36 (co-author): Learning from the Past, Looking toward the Future: The Next Four Years of Federal Education Policy (Spring 2013)
Recent AISR commentary
Providence Teachers Terminated: Dollars & Sense or Teachers & Students? 2/25/11
Family and Community Partnerships Essential to School Reform 1/26/11
Community Voice: What Most School-Improvement Theories Omit 12/2/11
Dear President-Elect Obama 1/8/09
In the News
Commentay; "What Mayor-Elect Marty Walsh Should Do About the Boston Public Schools," WBUR Cognoscenti 11/11/13
Quoted in "Boston Public Schools studying black and Latino male students’ success rates," Bay State Banner 8/21/13
Quoted in "Transitions: The Human Cost of School Closings" 5/1713
Quoted in "Advocacy group ranks R.I. public schools fifth in nation," Brown Daily Herald 2/5/13
Executive Director Warren Simmons quoted in "Local schools combat failing label" Brown Daily Herald, 11/2/11
AFT Innovation Fund Supports Teacher Role in Common Core Standards, AFT press release 7/11/11