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Meet our Superintendent

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Dr. Brian Banks, J.D., Ph.D.

Dr. Brian Banks, J.D., Ph.D., has committed his life to improving systems and uplifting communities. His commitment to impacting the public education and criminal justice systems is rooted in his own adverse experiences within these systems. These experiences have allowed Dr. Banks to serve as an advocate for greater access to quality public education, criminal justice reform, and to mentor youth who need support and guidance.

As educator, author, civil servant, and entrepreneur, Dr. Banks embodies transformative leadership to drive positive change within in the public education, advocacy, criminal justice, and political sectors.

Currently serving as Superintendent and Chief Academic Officer for MacDowell Preparatory Academy, a K-8 public charter school serving nearly 400 children in the heart of Detroit’s northwest side, Dr. Banks employs the disadvantages and obstacles he faced as a black male growing up in Detroit, as a channel to create systems of accountability that foster excellent academic outcomes for scholars, a dynamic teaching experience for the school faculty, and a foundation for stronger relationships between families and within the community.

As a product of both a low-income and a single-parent family, Dr. Banks is keenly aware of the difficult choices that today’s youth face. He is intimately familiar with living in a home environment that was not full of love nor conducive to learning and growth. However, it is precisely these experiences that have shaped his character and fueled his passion and drive for making a positive difference among youth, and their families, who may be faced with similar situations.

As described in his book, It Had 2 Happen: The Agony of Success, Dr. Banks recalls his “Revelation Day” revisiting a defining moment in his life when he stood before an Oakland County Circuit Court judge who acknowledged that she saw greatness within him and encouraged him to make a positive contribution to his community. Dr. Banks used this defining moment as the catalyst to kickstart his journey toward influencing and educating those around him.

Following the advice of the judge, Dr. Banks began advocating for members of his community and established himself as a champion for people needing to have a voice within the political and civic processes. On November 6, 2012, Dr. Banks was duly elected to the Michigan House of Representatives and was subsequently elected by his peers to serve as Chair of the Detroit Caucus. As a member of the legislature, Dr. Banks earned a reputation for being accessible and responsive to the needs of his constituents. As a result, he was elected three terms and was a stalwart champion for equitable funding for public schools. During his time in office, Dr. Banks championed initiatives that promoted student access to quality education and college readiness programs – no matter where they lived.

Dr. Banks holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Criminal Justice and Master of Education degree in Educational Leadership & Administration from Wayne State University. He earned a Juris Doctorate with a Concentration in Criminal Law from Michigan State University College of Law, and a PhD in Public Policy & Administration from Walden University. He is a member of the Greater Emmanuel Institutional Church of God in Christ under the
leadership of Bishop J. Drew Sheard.

Dr. Banks is a dedicated mentor for teens and young adults. He is intent on using his lived experiences to support young people in navigating challenges, overcoming obstacles, and creating a future they can be proud of. He is often called upon as a keynote speaker for Youth Day services at churches, college-bound student workshops, education panels, second chance programs, criminal justice reform seminars, and the like.