The School District of Philadelphia is comprised of a staff of highly qualified and dedicated individuals. Every one of our staff members plays an important role in the success of our schools. To highlight some of our exemplary staff, we have included brief bios of our leadership team members on this page.
William R. Hite, Jr., Ed.D Superintendent
Dr. William R. Hite Jr., was named Superintendent of The School District of Philadelphia on June 29, 2012.
Dr. Hite’s professional experience includes serving at every level – teacher, principal, central office administrator and Superintendent. Prior to joining the District, Dr. Hite was Superintendent of Prince George’s County Public Schools in Maryland, the state’s second-largest school district and one of the 25 largest districts nationwide. He also served as the school system’s Deputy Superintendent and Interim Superintendent. Dr. Hite led major efforts resulting in increased student achievement and significant improvements in teaching, learning and school status. His central work focused on enhanced access, equity and rigor to ensure that all high school graduates were prepared for college and careers. The Prince George’s County school system received national recognition for expanding access to Advanced Placement courses during his tenure.
Dr. Hite previously served as an Assistant Superintendent in Georgia’s Cobb County School District where he provided support for the 103,000 students. He has also served as director of middle school instruction and middle and high school principal in Henrico County, Virginia. Under his leadership, Highland Springs High School was honored as a “Best Practices” center by the Virginia General Assembly.
In addition, Dr. Hite has been an adjunct faculty member at the University of Richmond School of Continuous Learning and taught school leadership courses at Virginia State University, Bowie State University and the University of Maryland. A member of numerous national, state, and local boards, Dr. Hite has participated with national agencies and associations to reform K-12 education.
Dr. Hite received a Bachelor of Science degree in education from Virginia Tech and a master of education degree in educational leadership from the University of Virginia. He earned a doctorate in education specializing in educational leadership from Virginia Tech.
Dr. Hite’s interests include music, travel, sports and reading. He and his wife Deirdre have two daughters and a grandson.
Follow Dr. Hite on Twitter @SDPHite
Paul Kihn Deputy Superintendent
Paul Kihn is a former New York City public school English teacher, and has also taught middle and high school English in Ireland and South Africa. In addition, Kihn has worked with adjudicated and out-of-school youth.
Most recently, Kihn supported District turnaround efforts as a Leader of U.S. K12 Education Practice for the global consulting firm McKinsey & Co.'s education practice.
Kihn received his M.B.A. from Columbia University, and also holds degrees from Yale University, the University of Cape Town, and the Teachers College of Columbia University.
As Deputy Superintendent, Kihn serves as Dr. Hite’s second-in-command, managing day-to-day operations.
Matthew E. Stanski Chief Financial Officer
Matthew E. Stanski has served as Chief Financial Officer of The School District of Philadelphia since November 2012.
Stanski came to the District from Prince George’s County (Md.) Public Schools where he served as the chief financial executive for four years. He also worked as the school system’s budget director and director of fiscal compliance. During his tenure in Prince George’s County, he implemented new strategies, eliminated operating deficits and corrected audit findings. Under his leadership, the school system received the Distinguished Budget Presentation Award from the Government Finance Officers Association for three consecutive years and special recognition for its performance measures in the fiscal year 2012 budget document.
A graduate of Michigan State University, Stanski holds a bachelor’s degree in political science and master’s degree in public policy and administration.
Penny Nixon Chief Academic Officer
Penny Nixon, Chief Academic Officer of The School District of Philadelphia (SDP), prides herself in promoting an environment of academic excellence and positive school culture. She supports the design, implementation, and coordination of instructional leadership and curriculum-related initiatives. Mrs. Nixon is responsible for ensuring instructional leadership is being implemented in all Philadelphia public schools, as well as reporting matters related to operations and budget to the Chief Recover Officer and Acting Superintendent.
Prior to her position as Chief Academic Officer, Mrs. Nixon served as Associate Superintendent of Schools, Regional Superintendent, servicing 32 schools in the Northwest Region, Assistant Regional Superintendent, Principal, Academic Coach, and teacher. For six years, she was the principal at Wagner Middle School, which is currently a Vanguard School in the SDP. In all of her respective roles, she has been a reflective practitioner, researcher, and agent for change.
Mrs. Nixon is currently a participant in the University of Pennsylvania Mid-Career Doctoral Program in Educational Leadership. She received her Master's Degree in Education from the University of Pennsylvania and completed her undergraduate studies at Temple University. She also holds a principal certification and a Superintendent's Letter of Eligibility.
Evelyn Sample-Oates Chief of Family and Community Engagement
Evelyn Sample-Oates is Chief of Family and Community Engagement for The School District of Philadelphia. A native of Philadelphia and a senior member of the cabinet, she leads the District’s external affairs related to strategic partnerships, support for parents and families, and facilitates forums and other public meetings.
The Office of Family and Community Engagement is responsible for creating and expanding partnerships with local businesses, institutions and organizations, including for-profit and non-profit; developing relationships with community, business and civic leaders for collaborative ventures; and leveraging relationships with elected officials. The office also manages Parent Resource Centers, the District’s Translation Department and assists with strategic government affairs in addition to coordinating the implementation of School Advisory Councils and serving as a District liaison for Home and School Councils.
Previously, Mrs. Sample-Oates served the district as both Chief and Deputy Chief of Communications. In this role, she led a department that informs the public through media relations efforts, public speaking forums, publications and the District's community access cable television station, PSTV 52 (Philadelphia Public Schools Television). As a resource to teachers and administrative offices, the department also offers guidance and support in managing major news and community issues, and helps generate special events, press conferences and other strategies to communicate the District’s stories of pride and accomplishment.
Mrs. Sample-Oates serves on many local and national boards and believes in giving her time through community service to help improve the lives of all children. She is a graduate of the American University in Washington, D.C., with a degree in Broadcast Journalism.
Karyn T. Lynch Chief of Student Services
Prior to joining the School District of Philadelphia, Lynch served as the Chief of Student Services at Prince George’s County Public Schools. As the Chief of Student Services, Lynch managed the division’s departments of Guidance Counseling Services, Family and Community Outreach, Health Services, Homeless Education, Safe and Drug Free Schools and Character Education, as well as the Office of Student Appeals, and the Office Business and Community Relations.
Lynch received her Master’s in Public Administration from Columbia University and holds a Bachelor of Arts in Government from Dartmouth College. She was awarded the Governor’s Citation for Excellence in Leadership and the Woman of the Year Award in 2008.
Melanie S. Harris Chief Information Officer
Melanie S. Harris joined the School District of Philadelphia in 1999 and currently serves as the Chief Information Officer. In that role, she oversees the team responsible for all aspects of technology delivery and support for schools and administrative offices.
Prior to her position as Chief Information Officer, Ms. Harris served as the Executive Director of Information Systems and the Director of Systems and Applications. In those roles, she was responsible for the development and implementation of an online technology strategy, as well as, building a more customer service oriented approach to support schools.
Ms. Harris has always upheld the mission to provide students and teachers with the technology and tools that are essential for learning and achievement in the 21st century classroom, and equally important, providing school administrators and teachers with the data and reporting tools necessary for critical decision making and governance.
Ms. Harris received her Master's in Business Administration from Eastern University and her Bachelor of Arts in International Relations from St. Joseph's University.
Michael A. Davis, General Counsel
Mr. Davis has served as the General Counsel of the School District of Philadelphia since July 6, 2010. He heads an office that is responsible for providing legal advice and representation for the School Reform Commission (SRC), School District officers and other employees. The General Counsel also is responsible for engaging, and managing the services of outside counsel retained on an as-needed basis, and serves as the Assistant Secretary of the SRC.
To learn more about our General Counsel, read Mr. Michael Davis' complete biography