Desmond K. Blackburn, PhD began serving as President and CEO of Facing History & Ourselves in April, 2023.
Desmond is committed to bringing Facing History’s resources to more teachers, schools, and districts than ever. He is also dedicated to nurturing a workplace culture where staff are highly engaged and excited to help teachers and their students stand up to bigotry and hate.
Before joining Facing History, Desmond was Deputy Chancellor of School Leadership for the New York City Department of Education, the largest school system in the nation. In this role, he oversaw executive superintendents in addition to all-district and high school superintendents. Prior to that, Desmond served as CEO of the New Teacher Center, a national nonprofit that works to disrupt the predictability of educational inequities for systemically underserved students by accelerating educator effectiveness.
His career in education began in 1996 as a high school math teacher. Desmond continued to follow his passion for education as he rose through the Broward County Public School system in Fort Lauderdale, Florida to Assistant Principal, Principal, Director of School Improvement, Area Superintendent, and finally Chief of School Performance & Accountability. In 2015 he became the Superintendent of Schools for Brevard Public Schools in Brevard County, where his guidance led to the 10th highest graduation rate in the state with three schools earning the distinguished National Blue Ribbon, and the State of Florida grading the system with an “A” for two consecutive years.
Desmond has served both state and national organizations including the Florida Association of District School Superintendents (FADSS) and Chiefs For Change. He sits on the Board of Educational Resource Strategies and is a fellow at the Broad Academy and Pahara Institute as well as an Advisory Committee Member for The Broad Center at the Yale School of Management. He received a BS in Mathematics from the University of Florida along with graduate degrees in Educational Leadership from Nova Southeastern University (MS) and Florida Atlantic University (PhD).