Dr. Lolli Haws
Superintendent of Schools
Dr. Lolli Haws has served as superintendent of the Racine Unified School District since July 2013. During her tenure the District has made significant progress toward improving education quality, community perception and student achievement in RUSD schools. Haws is committed to championing courageous and innovative initiatives that advance education for RUSD students.
In January 2014, Dr. Haws introduced Raising Racine, the District’s 3-year strategic plan to increase achievement in reading and math, close achievement gaps and create positive learning environments. Strategies aligned with the Raising Racine priorities have resulted in increases in reading scores at the early grades and an increase in the percent of students at the national average for reading and math in grades K-8. Graduation rates have increased more than five percent and a new focus on freshmen cohorts has resulted in 15 percent more students earning at least six credits in their freshman year, a measure indicating they are on-track to graduate.
In fall 2014, a strong community majority voted to pass a $128 million 15-year referendum for new construction, facility maintenance and classroom technology. This community support signaled a positive change in confidence and engagement. The referendum has led to various projects including construction of three new schools, Knapp Elementary, Olympia Brown Elementary and Gifford School K-8, on track to open in fall 2016.
A major Raising Racine initiative has been transforming RUSD comprehensive high schools into the Academies of Racine, launching for freshmen in fall 2016. A strong renewed partnership with area businesses and post-secondary institutions will lead to high school graduates in RUSD graduating high school with certifications, credits and 21st century skills that assure they are ready for college or career.
Haws worked with the District’s Guiding Coalition and RUSD stakeholders to collaboratively refresh its North Star Vision in fall 2015, and establish District Core Values as the basis of RUSD’s approach that will lead to achieving the District’s mission, Educating Every Child to Succeed.
Haws is currently working with a cross-section of stakeholders and District leaders as well as Board of Education members to develop “Raising Racine 2020” a strategic plan for the next five years of RUSD’s work, based on a continuous improvement model for using data and improvement cycles to set goals, monitor progress, adjust and precisely identify successful strategies and accelerate the momentum and progress already underway for RUSD’s students.
Prior to coming to Racine, Haws served as an instructional superintendent for District of Columbia Public Schools in Washington, D.C from 2010-2013. She was responsible for the leadership, management and performance of 13 distinctly different DCPS schools, including early childhood, elementary, K-8 campuses, middle school and special education campuses. In collaboration with DCPS school leaders and support team, Haws worked to reform struggling schools to close achievement gaps in an urban school system with complex issues and challenges.
From 2004-2010, Haws was principal of Oakridge Elementary School in Arlington, Virginia Public Schools, a top performing district near D.C. She led a Title I school with children from more than 60 countries who spoke more than 40 languages. During her tenure, more than 90 percent of the school’s students were consistently proficient in reading and math. The school earned multiple awards including the Distinguished Title I School Award as well as Virginia Index of Performance (VIP) awards for advanced learning and achievement. Haws also served 10 years as principal in suburban St. Louis, MO., at a Title I elementary school recognized for exemplary literacy instruction and overall high achievement.
Haws taught deaf and profoundly hearing impaired students in several school systems and across all grade levels before becoming a principal. She received a bachelor’s degree in elementary education and special education from Augustana University in Sioux Falls, S.D., a master’s degree in reading from Southern Illinois University at Edwardsville and a Ph.D. in educational administration from St. Louis University in St. Louis, MO.