Jonathan Brice

“What we did well was change the conversation. The conversation wasn’t about suspensions. It was, ‘What are the alternatives?’ Reducing suspensions keeps more kids in school and actually leads to more student learning.”
— Matt Roth for Education Week
— Matt Roth for Education Week
Focus of Strength:Student Discipline
Position:Officer of School Support Networks
District:Baltimore City Schools

When Jonathan Brice was hired to tackle school discipline reform in the Baltimore public schools in 2008, about one in five students was being suspended out of school in the 85,000-student district each year.

Brice, fresh off a stint in Jacksonville, Fla., where he also oversaw discipline districtwide, rolled up his sleeves and got to it.

“It was: ‘Walk in. Let’s get to work,’ ” Brice says of his early days of work in Baltimore, where he had grown up and attended school.

And so he did.

The vision for overhauling the way students were disciplined—out-of-school-suspensions were contributing to the district’s dropout rate and undermining students’ academic achievement—was that of the district’s nationally known schools chief, Andrés A. Alonso. But it was Brice who was tasked with turning vision into reality.

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