The Inspired Teaching Demonstration Public Charter School (ITDS) today announced Dr. Sundai Riggins as its next Head of School beginning in School Year 2021-2022.
“The ITDS Board of Directors is thrilled to welcome a proven, energetic, and versatile educational leader,” said John Leibovitz, board chair and parent board member. “Dr. Riggins will add to the strong foundation built over ITDS’s first decade and lead our community into the next chapter with a strong commitment to the progressive ideals that make ITDS special.”
Dr. Riggins brings more than 20 years of leadership experience across a range of different schools and communities. She joins ITDS from Hendley Elementary School, a DCPS school in Ward 8, where she has served as principal for the last six years. Under her leadership, Hendley established an inquiry-based, STEM curriculum and received the “Innovation for Excellence” award for the school’s work to provide hands-on STEM opportunities, including engineering design challenges, the Project Lead the Way curriculum implementation, and a nationally-recognized robotics team. The school has seen steady achievement gains in math and English.
“I am honored to be selected as Head of School of this wonderful community, and I look forward to meeting our staff, families, and students soon,” said Dr. Riggins. “I'm excited by ITDS’ focus on intellect, inquiry, imagination, and integrity; its creative and accomplished teaching staff; its tight-knit family community; and its commitment to demonstrating that progressive instruction can work, equitably, for all children from across the District.”
Dr. Riggins previously served as founding school principal of an Expeditionary Learning charter school in Baltimore, an assistant principal at DCPS’ Brightwood Education Campus (where she was a New Leaders for New Schools resident), and as English teacher and department chair at Elizabeth Seton High School in Bladensburg, Maryland. She received her Bachelor’s Degree from the University of Maryland, Master’s Degrees from Trinity University and Georgetown University, and an Ed.D. from the University of Pennsylvania.
Dr. Riggins’s experience across charter schools, district public schools, and private schools will benefit ITDS as it extends its core approach — rooted, as always in the 4 I’s — to embrace new opportunities, partnerships, and programs. Her collaborative leadership style, engaging personality, and child-centered outlook will make for a smooth transition to ITDS. Dr. Riggins will start as Head of School on July 1, 2021.
The ITDS board acknowledges and thanks Deborah Dantzler Williams for her 10 years of leadership as Head of School. Dantzler Williams built ITDS to be the admired, progressive public school that is today. Beginning from an idea and a charter application, ITDS is a thriving community that attracts families from all eight wards of DC, employs an exceptional professional staff and features a demonstrated commitment to inquiry-based teaching and learning. The many successes of ITDS are in large part thanks to Dantzler Williams’ leadership. ITDS graduates now attend the city’s best high schools and its first graduating class will be heading off to college next year. Throughout this entire time, Dantzler Williams has rooted her work, and the work of the school, in a commitment to always putting kids first.