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Introducing Kalamazoo Public Schools’ New Superintendent

Dr. Rita Raichoudhuri

On June 1, Kalamazoo Public Schools (KPS) and the Kalamazoo community welcomed Dr. Rita Raichoudhuri as the district’s new superintendent.

Formerly the Executive Director of Early College & Career Education at Chicago Public Schools, Raichoudhuri’s 16-year career in education has included classroom teaching, serving as a building-level principal, and working in central office roles. She describes her decision to pursue a career in teaching as something that unexpectedly happened to her.

“My undergraduate degree in college was in environmental science and my plan was to be an environmental lawyer,” she recalled. “When I was a junior in college, I interned in elementary schools to do work with environmental stewardship and loved the students’ academic curiosity. I realized that I wanted to be an advocate who empowered the next generation.”

Aware of the reputation that KPS, The Kalamazoo Promise, and the City of Kalamazoo have built, Raichoudhuri has been thoroughly impressed, but not surprised, with how she has been embraced.

“There was an overwhelming amount of positive outreach from the community even before I was selected,” she said of her interactions prior to the hiring process. “The process was robust and gave me a lot of faith in how things are done in Kalamazoo, especially working closely with the Board of Education. Seeing the millage pass was also impressive. It is very evident that people here are big-hearted and invested in public education.”

This compassion demonstrated by the community has Raichoudhuri looking forward to working closely with KPS senior leadership, stakeholder groups, parents, students, and the teachers union.

When asked what the future of KPS looked like, she responded, “KPS’ future is based around living up to our creed of ‘Every child, every opportunity, every time.’ By meeting the needs of every student in the district, families will be encouraged to remain in Kalamazoo.”

To ensure the district’s future remains on a positive trajectory, Raichoudhuri asks that the community continues showing support.

“It is no secret that we face an unprecedented budget cut this year, but the community can play a role in softening the blow,” she said. “A one percent drop in enrollment equates to a one million dollar drop in funding.

“We need our communities to write to their representatives, talk to their friends and family, engage with the latest news, get involved in committees, establish equity frameworks, and take a stance that is pro-education. I would also love for our community to use their social media platforms to share positive stories about KPS and inform others that it is a viable option for our community’s kids come this fall.”

Raichoudhuri understands the hesitance some parents may face in reenrolling their children in brick and mortar schools this fall.

“Regardless of what the state allows, we will provide virtual learning options that will allow all students to remain a part of KPS,” she assured.

Creating an educational environment that promotes equity and allows students to pursue their goals is something that Raichoudhuri is also focused on. For students preparing to make the transition out of high school, she stresses the importance of being open to new opportunities.

“Figure out what you love to do and what your passion is,” she recommended. “It may be a career path that you chance upon. I never thought I would become a teacher, but it occurred by happenstance. The more you are exposed, the more you learn what you are capable of.”

We would like to thank Dr. Raichoudhuri for taking the time to introduce herself to our readers. Make sure to visit KPS’ website to stay updated on the latest news regarding the upcoming school year.

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