Oakland Schools District and School Services welcomes new executive director
Every morning before Jennifer Gottlieb leaves the house, she says to her husband, “I’m going to go do great things for kids today.”
This is her motto, the one she brings with her to work every day at Oakland Schools as the new executive director for District and School Services.
Hired this past July, Gottlieb comes from the Troy School District where she served as director of Teaching and Learning. She has a fascinating backstory that begins with her earning a Bachelor of Science in Chemistry from the University of Michigan. With a special knack for science-related fields, Gottlieb knew she wanted to teach children about her favorite subject.
“I always knew I wanted to be a teacher. My dad was a university professor so there was always an emphasis on learning in our house,” she explained.
This idea was confirmed for Gottlieb after she was told by a guidance counselor at her high school she had just qualified for an award, but needed to write an essay on what she wanted to be when she grew up. Under a tight deadline, Gottlieb wrote about becoming a teacher, even though she wasn’t quite sure at the time if that was the path she wanted to follow. She said writing the essay came so easily to her, however, that it became evident teaching was right for her.
“I wrote it and I thought, ‘actually this works. I like this idea.’ That kind of really solidified for me,” she said.
Gottlieb then moved to New York City where she earned her master’s degree in Science Education from Columbia University. This also presented her with an opportunity to work at a school considered to be on the cutting edge of teaching. She eventually returned back to Michigan where she taught physics, chemistry and math in Troy Public Schools for 12 years.
Gottlieb then moved out of the classroom and served in a few different positions such as k-12 math/science coordinator and science consultant before coming to Oakland Schools. In that time, Gottlieb, who enjoys biking and quilting in her free time, also earned an Educational Specialist degree from Oakland University.
As Oakland Schools’ executive director for District and School Services, Gottlieb’s main focus is running her department as a team.
“My vision is we figure things out together while also being of service to our county,” she said. “I love helping create systems that make it easier for teachers to do more meaningful work. Being a part of that is really rewarding.”
Sarah Davis is the communications specialist for Oakland Schools.