Warren Simmons

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Executive Director; Assistant Clinical Professor, Master’s Program in Urban Education Policy, Brown University
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501 Warren Simmons directs the work of the Annenberg Institute for School Reform at Brown University (AISR) 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 attended by traditionally underserved students. Before joining AISR in 1998, Dr. Simmons 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 BA in psychology from Macalester College and a PhD in psychology from Cornell University. He is a 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, the Pew Forum, and the board of trustees of Roger Williams University. He was chair of the Rhode Island Urban Education Task Force, convened by Governor Donald Carcieri, a member of the National Commission on Civic Investment in Public Education, convened by Public Education Network, and chair of the New York City Working Group on School Transformation. He currently co-chairs the Aspen Urban Superintendents Network and was appointed by the National Research Council to serve on its Committee on Strengthening Science Education through a Teacher Learning Continuum. In 2015, he was appointed to the board of the Family Health Initiative (FHI 360); the Broader Bolder Approach advisory board; the Blue Ribbon Committee of the New York State Board of Regents’ Workgroup to Improve Outcomes for Boys and Young Men of Color; and the advisory board of Education Resource Strategy’s School System 20/20 initiative. Dr. Simmons also serves as a member of the board of directors of the Nellie Mae Education Fund.



The Debate Over Private Schools and Public Funding
Education Writers Association Conference/Denver 

951 EWA curated the best tweets and photos from this panel session to share important voices and messages -- including highlights of Warren Simmons' remarks -- in a Storify page of the conversation. (2/28/15)

From the Executive Director

Smart Education Systems: Community-Centered School Reform

Toward Smart Education Systems: An Introduction to the Annenberg Institute for School Reform



Panel Discussion: Building a Movement from the Ground Up, 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.


Keynote: Rhode Island Black History Month Celebration 2015
National education equity leader Warren Simmons characterized the annual Black History Month observance as simultaneously absurd but necessary, in keynote remarks at the Rhode Island General Assembly’s 6th Annual Joint Legislative Black History Month celebration on February 25, 2015.

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

The Path to Success for All (5/20/15)

Being Free (2/18/15)

Charter School Accountability Standards: Nurturing Innovation without Damaging Public Trust 10/16/14

What Will It Take to Close the Opportunity Gap? (Originally published by WBUR Cognoscenti) 8/27/14

Is Brown v. Board Relevant Today? 5/12/14

What Mayor-Elect Marty Walsh Should Do About the Boston Public Schools 11/13/13

Expanded Learning Time as a Strategy for Closing the Opportunity Gap Inside and Outside of School 6/17/13

The Annenberg Institute at 20; Executive Director Warren Simmons Looks Back at Two Decades of School Reform 4/10/13

The Next Four Years of Federal Education Policy: What’s Working, What’s Missing 1/3/13

Cutting through the Noise: Straight Talk on Teaching Quality 9/14/12

Linking High School and Postsecondary Data: Not Just a Technical Challenge 6/19/12

The Time to Succeed Coalition: Making Expanded Learning Time a Priority 6/14/12

Honoring Dr. King through Community Organizing for Education Reform to Eliminate the Achievement Gap 1/18/12

Ensuring That Teaching Quality Reforms Address Race- and Income-Based Inequities 11/2/11

High School Turnaround: From Hope to Despair in Providence 5/10/11

Beyond the Classroom: A Broader View of Learning 3/31/11

Depolarizing the Debate on How to Measure and Cultivate Teacher Effectiveness 3/17/11

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

From Turmail to Trust: Becoming Partners in School Reform 4/12/10

Emerging Knowledge in New Orleans 3/15/09

Dear President-Elect Obama 1/8/09

In the News

Quoted in "The Charter School Quality Conundrum," Education Writers Association 3/30/15

Quoted in "In some school districts, hope can outstip influence," The Virginian Pilot 3/7/15

Annenberg director to step down at end of year, Brown Daily Herald 10/17/14

Warren Simmons to Step Down as Head of Brown University's Annenberg Institute for School Reform 10/14/14

AISR's Warren Simmons and Michelle Renée serve as panelists at prestigious Education Writers Association annual meeting (May 18-20, 2014)

AISR's Warren Simmons and Nashville Superintendent Jesse Register to be Blog Talk Radio Guests 4/23/14

AISR Executive Director Warren Simmons elected to Nellie Mae Foundation Board of Directors 1/29/14

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 elected trustee at Roger Williams University 11/15/12

Annenberg Institute’s Warren Simmons Named to National Research Council’s Committee on Strengthening Science Education 10/18/12

Executive Director Warren Simmons quoted in New York Times article 9/12/12

Executive Director Warren Simmons to Attend Aspen Urban Superintendents Network meeting (11/30-12/3), 11/28/11

Warren Simmons Keynotes “Advancing Equity: Removing Road Blocks to Achieving High Academic Standards Symposium” (11/5/11), 11/7/11

Warren Simmons keynotes 11/10 NEA Priority Schools Forum: Change, Challenge and Collaboration event, 11/4/11

Executive Director Warren Simmons quoted in "Local schools combat failing label" Brown Daily Herald, 11/2/11

Annenberg Institute's Warren Simmons to speak at "Race, Gender, Discipline and Justice: Students Locked out of a Quality Education" 9/28/11

Executive Director Warren Simmons quoted in "In Public School Reform, What Can Private Money Buy?" 9/28/11

Warren Simmons to Speak at Mott Foundation's "Expanding Horizons: The Power of Afterschool & the Future of Learning" 9/27/11

Executive Director Warren Simmons presents at conference on effective alternatives to closing struggling schools in NYC 9/26/11

Warren Simmons attended Civil Rights Research Roundtable on Education 9/15-16, 9/19/11

Executive Director Warren Simmons presents at Congressional Briefing 8/16/11

AFT Innovation Fund Supports Teacher Role in Common Core Standards, AFT press release 7/11/11