Important COVID-19 information: Our Programs | FAQs | Resources for families

Back to Blog

October 26, 2015

Reading Partners names Dr. Robert Simmons vice president of state operations, Michigan and senior advisor on innovation


Contact: Christy Dobbs, 510-830-3080,

Reading Partners names Dr. Robert Simmons vice president of state operations, Michigan and senior advisor on innovation

Detroit, Michigan – October 26, 2015 — Reading Partners is exploring expansion of its proven program to Michigan and has increased the organization’s investment in innovation with the addition of a veteran education executive, Dr. Robert Simmons. The newly created position is part of the effort to ensure many more students in Michigan and across the nation are on-track to read at grade level by 4th grade.

Michigan has taken some critical first steps towards a comprehensive statewide reading program, though much remains to be done to ensure students get the support they need.” Says Reading Partners CEO Michael Lombardo. “I am thrilled that Robert will be leading efforts in Michigan as his leadership experience and strong personal ties to the community make him uniquely qualified to work with the state and school districts to achieve Governor Snyder’s goal of having Michigan be one of the five most improved states in early reading.

Simmons joins Reading Partners after serving as the Chief of Innovation and Research for the District of Columbia Public Schools (DCPS). He led their Empowering Males of Color initiative, a $20 million signature effort of Chancellor Kaya Henderson and Mayor Muriel Bowser that is aligned with President Obama’s My Brother’s Keeper initiative. Prior to coming to DCPS, Simmons was the founding director of the Center for Innovation in Urban Education as well as a tenured professor of urban education at Loyola University Maryland, and a research associate with the Baltimore Education Research Consortium at Johns Hopkins University. Having appeared on CNN and a variety of media outlets discussing urban education and race in American schools, Dr. Simmons has conducted research in a variety of urban schools and focused on the educational experiences of students of color throughout the United States. The author of numerous publications and the co-editor of the the book, Talking about Race, Robert was raised in Detroit, MI, and is a former teacher in the Detroit Public Schools. He holds a Bachelor of Science in elementary education from Western Michigan University, a Masters of Science Education from Lawrence Technological University and a Doctorate of Education from Hamline University.

I can’t wait to work to leverage the benefits of Reading Partners’ program to students in Michigan and beyond — and to lead innovation to help change the trajectory of more students across the nation”, says Simmons.

Robert will be focused on supporting key strategic priorities for the organization; including exploring expansion of operations into Michigan, scaling new program approaches, and addressing issues of diversity and cultural competency for our students, staff, and volunteers.

About Reading Partners

Reading Partners will provide individualized literacy tutoring to more than 11,000 elementary school students in more than 200 schools in low-income communities across ten states and the District of Columbia this upcoming school year. The nonprofit organization delivers a highly effective, evidence-based program that has helped tens of thousands of children master the fundamental reading skills they need to succeed in school and beyond. Visit or connect with us on LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook, to learn more about how Reading Partners is helping to improve student reading proficiency.

  • Logo for Accelerate
  • Logo for Five Below
  • Logo for Hellman Foundation
  • Logo for Bezos Family Foundation
  • Logo for George Kaiser Family Foundation
  • Logo for Panda Cares
  • Logo for The Duke Endowment
  • Logo for Deerbrook Charitable Trust

Thanks to our partners

Site by Vermilion Credits Privacy Policy ©2024 Reading Partners