Today, Facing History & Ourselves is proud to announce Desmond K. Blackburn, PhD begins serving as the organization's next president and Chief Executive Officer (CEO). Founded by former educator Margot Stern Strom, Facing History & Ourselves has been using lessons of history to challenge teachers and their students to stand up to bigotry and hate for nearly 50 years.
Desmond Blackburn is a career educator, formerly holding roles as a classroom teacher, school and district leader, and serving both state and national organizations including the Florida Association of District School Superintendents (FADSS) and Chiefs For Change. As superintendent for Brevard County, Florida, he led Brevard Public Schools (BPS) to achieve the 10th highest graduation rate in the state, three schools earned the distinguished Blue Ribbon award, and the State of Florida graded BPS an “A” for two consecutive years. From 2018 to 2022, Dr. Blackburn served as the CEO of New Teacher Center (NTC), a national non-profit organization dedicated to improving student learning by accelerating educator effectiveness.
Most recently, Blackburn was Deputy Chancellor of School Leadership for the New York City Department of Education, the largest school system in America. In this role, he oversaw executive superintendents along with all-district and high school superintendents.
“After an extensive national search, we are thrilled to have Dr. Blackburn lead Facing History into the next phase of our critical work,” said Jill Garling, Chair of the Board of Directors at Facing History & Ourselves. “We are building a better future by equipping teachers with rigorous academic content and tools to encourage empathy and civic participation. Dr. Blackburn’s expertise in education, equity and teacher effectiveness will provide crucial leadership of our team at this critical time in the education sector.”
“Joining Facing History is a dream come true. Helping students and teachers stand up to bigotry and hate, especially at this time when learning from our shared histories and working together to create a better world for our young people is as great of a need as ever,” said Desmond K. Blackburn, CEO of Facing History & Ourselves. “I look forward to partnering with school, district, state, and network leaders, as they support teachers to build classroom environments that are inclusive, reflective, and allow for critical dialogue where every student feels heard and valued.”
Meet Desmond K. Blackburn, PhD
Facing History & Ourselves supports more than 400,000 6-12 grade teachers in nearly 40,000 schools in the US and around the world. The nonprofit combines engaging and evidence-based professional learning and curricular resources, which help teachers build transformative classroom experiences.