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Ex-SRC member Ramirez takes Milwaukee schools job

Heidi Ramirez, an urban educator and outspoken former Philadelphia School Reform Commission member, is taking a job as the chief academic officer of Milwaukee Public Schools.

Ramirez, who currently heads the Urban Education Collaborative at Temple University, resigned from the commission last year after clashing with Superintendent Arlene Ackerman. She was known for asking tough questions of Ackerman and her staff.

Of Milwaukee, Ramirez said, "the opportunities are there for us to make changes in a big urban system. It needs all hands on deck and different voices to challenge and learn from each other."

Ramirez will earn $138,671 and will report directly to incoming Milwaukee Superintendent Gregory Thornton, who most recently headed the Chester-Upland district but also was chief academic officer in Philadelphia.

Ramirez, who has a Ph.D from Stanford University, has never worked for a school district directly, but said the Milwaukee job was "exciting."

"I think that Milwaukee really understands and has a sense of urgency about school reform," she said. "I think being in a district that wants to learn and wants to help children learn can be powerful. It's not often enough that you have that combination."

She starts the new job July 1.