New Detroit Public School Superintendent Nikolai Vitti sees benefit in single-gender schooling, but acknowledges there is a challenge in promoting it as an option for students. 

“Enrollment is lower than it should be,” Vitti said. “I think a lot of students would benefit from a single gender education.” 

Vitti sat down with student journalists and their advisers on Nov. 21,  to talk about his background and outlook.

He is an educator who, this year has taken over the leadership of the Detroit Public School Community District, which has in recent years been led by state-appointed emergency financial managers. 

A Michigan native, Vitti has had educational leadership roles in Florida, as chief academic officer of Miami-Dade County Public Schools Miami, then as superintendent of Duval County Public Schools in Jacksonville. What he doesn’t have is experience as a public school student. Crain’s Detroit report that he grew up in Dearborn Heights. However, he said he feels his own educational philosophy makes him more effective in urban districts.  

He said he and his cabinet are driven to change the culture of the district. Together, with input from students, parents, teachers and other stakeholders, they created a strategic plan to serve as a blueprint for the district’s transformation.  The blueprint focuses on the core values of: Students First, Excellence, Integrity, Equity, Service and Tenacity.  

Vitti addressed his plans for Frederick Douglass Academy for Young Men and schools with similar demographics.  

He noted that he had created single-gender schools in both Miami and Jacksonville.

He said his goal now is to “figure out how to promote it more.”