Warren Simmons is the executive director of the Annenberg Institute for School Reform at Brown University. The institute was established in 1993 to develop, share, and act on knowledge that improves conditions and outcomes in American schools, particularly in urban areas and in schools serving disadvantaged students. It pursues its mission through three circles of work: district redesign and leadership, research and knowledge products, and community organizing and engagement. In each of these areas, the institute conducts applied research, develops tools and products, and offers technical support designed to build capacity of communities to transform urban schools and school systems.
Prior to joining the Annenberg Institute in 1998, Simmons headed the Philadelphia Education Fund, a nonprofit organization that played a key role in helping the School District of Philadelphia fund, develop, and implement a comprehensive school reform agenda called Children Achieving.
Over his thirty-year career in education, Simmons has worked on urban education issues from several vantage points. As a grantmaker at the National Institute of Education and Annie E. Casey Foundation, he developed and funded initiatives on youth and adult literacy, community development, and urban school reform; as director of equity initiatives for the New Standards Project, he worked with a coalition of seventeen states and six school districts to design performance-based assessments and to advance curricular and instructional reforms. Simmons also served as special assistant to the superintendent of schools in Prince George’s County, MD, where he designed and implemented reforms that improved the achievement of disadvantaged students, including the Comer School Development Project, the College Board’s Equity 2000 Project, and the school system’s multicultural education and black male achievement initiatives.
Simmons serves on boards and advisory groups of numerous education reform organizations, including the Public Education Network, PLATO Learning, the Merck Institute, the National Center on Education and the Economy, the Campaign for Educational Equity, and the Cowen Institute’s National Advisory Council.
He earned his BA in psychology from Macalester College and his doctorate in psychology from Cornell University.