President & CEO
Facing History & Ourselves
Desmond K. Blackburn, Ph.D, is the President & CEO of the global education non-profit Facing History & Ourselves (www.facinghistory.org). As President & CEO, Desmond is committed to Facing History’s mission to use the lessons of history to challenge teachers and students to stand up to bigotry and hate. Under his leadership he is excited to bring Facing History’s resources to more teachers, schools, districts, states, and networks, than ever before as well as nurture a workplace culture where staff are highly engaged and excited to build the mission and work of the organization. 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, all district and high school superintendents, in addition to the Office of School Culture, Climate, and Well-Being. 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 for Broward County Public Schools (BCPS). He rose through BCPS to serve as 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, where his guidance led to the 10th highest graduation rate in the state, three schools earning the distinguished Blue Ribbon award, and two consecutive "A" ratings by the Florida Department of Education. 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, 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). He was born in Mt. Vernon, New York to parents, Desmond and Diana. He and his wife, Kelli, have been married for 25 years. They have two sons, Dean and Grant.