William Wade

Title – CEO
Profile – William C. Wade has responded to big challenges in big city schools. He’s a turnaround specialist known for fostering academic excellence in many different school situations. Wade will be joining Urban Pathways College Charter School K-5 in Downtown Pittsburgh as CEO.

“All students can learn,” says Wade. “The question is, ‘Can all teachers teach to those different learning levels?’ My goal is to coach and help and support them along the way as they learn to adapt to the different learning styles of those different students.”

“I don’t know if we put enough emphasis on it, but this is a talent-based industry. Finding the best and brightest to work in this industry is key.”

From 2016-18, Wade was responsible for leading 12 schools and 5,800 public school students in Santa Fe, New Mexico, in a sustainable turnaround, as the Associate Superintendent of Innovation and Student Support. Before that, he was the Assistant Superintendent for Education & School Improvement, where he managed the merger of two middle schools, helped raise test scores in elementary schools, and helped plan the district’s first Early College High School.

From 2011-2015, he was the principal at The Promise Academy at Martin Luther King in Philadelphia—one of the city’s flagship schools, which was beset by low performance. Wade has been credited with across-the-board improvements at the school in academics, attendance and discipline. In 2014, he led the consolidation of King High School with its crosstown rival Germantown, after that school’s closure. Dick’s Sporting Goods made a documentary, “We Could Be King” which aired on ESPN, ESPN2 and CBS (and premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival and South By Southwest) about the schools’ successful combination through the lens of athletics. It won a Sports Emmy award.

“I’ve predominantly worked with middle schools and high schools throughout my career,” says Wade. “But what I’ve witnessed with elementary schools, the joy of learning is still in place from Pre-K to 5. We can have more exploratory learning, hands-on learning and project-based learning–and make sure that our teachers are trained to engage the students at high levels.”

In 2015, Wade was presented with the Christian R. and Mary F. Lindback Foundation’s Distinguished Principal Award, in recognition of his leadership.

Wade served as a principal of two other schools in Philadelphia prior to his tenure at King. He was also an assistant principal in Atlanta, and as a teacher in Memphis. He has a Bachelor’s degree from Alcorn State University in Secondary Mathematics Education, a Master’s Degree in Education from Christian Brother’s University Memphis, TN and an Ed.S. in Educational Leadership from Lincoln Memorial University, Harragate, TN.

“I’m most excited to work with the professional development of the teachers,” says Wade. “Making sure they understand what restorative practices mean, and understand what trauma looks like with students. I’m excited with the training that goes with that.”

“And working with the students directly, to make sure they can reach new heights in literacy and math skills. Urban Pathways has a large population of children of color, and we want to make sure they master literacy by third grade. I’m excited about measuring the levels of fluency in the classroom. I’m excited about measuring reading comprehension. We have such young children, so we need a major focus on literacy.”