President and CEO
Harvard University, University of Michigan, Spelman College
Dr. Darienne Hudson is a high-energy, dynamic nonprofit executive and life-long educator serving as President and CEO of United Way for Southeastern Michigan, located in Detroit. Before joining United Way in July 2018, she spent the previous four years as superintendent of Milwaukee Public Schools (MPS), the largest school district in Wisconsin. Throughout her career, Dr. Hudson has initiated a series of bold reforms designed to ensure equity for all. Most recently, her ability to mobilize corporations, foundations, and individual donors to orchestrate a coordinated community-based effort in response to the coronavirus pandemic has garnered international praise and recognition.
In her role at United Way, Dr. Hudson has begun to develop and initiate programs to improve the lives of children and families in Southeastern Michigan. Dr. Hudson believes strongly in the power of collective impact and in the importance of public-private partnerships to solve societal issues and inequity. Since her tenure at United Way, she has cultivated relationships in Southeastern Michigan to do just that. Dr. Hudson is purposefully and intentionally leading the 100-plus-year-old organization in a direction that places an emphasis on listening to the community and addressing its greatest needs.
Dr. Hudson is familiar with the power of United Way. She previously served on the Board of Directors for the United Way of Greater Milwaukee and Waukesha County.
Prior to being named superintendent, Dr. Hudson was MPS' first Chief Innovation Officer. In that role, she successfully narrowed the achievement gap in MPS' Commitment Schools, which are the schools with the greatest need for improvement.
Before her tenure in Milwaukee, Dr. Hudson served as Deputy Chief of Empowerment Schools for the School District of Philadelphia. Prior to her time in Philadelphia, she was the Coordinator of Strategic Management and Accountability, as well as Special Assistant to the Superintendent in Clayton County Public Schools in Georgia. Dr. Hudson began her career as an elementary school teacher in Detroit Public Schools, a point of personal pride.
Dr. Hudson's academic achievements include a doctorate from Harvard University in Urban Superintendency, a master's degree in education from Harvard University, and a master’s degree in curriculum development from the University of Michigan. Her undergraduate degree in child development is from Spelman College.
In addition to her work as President and CEO of United Way for Southeastern Michigan, Dr. Hudson serves on the steering committee for Launch Michigan, the Wayne County Afterschool Partnership, and is on the Mayor’s Workforce Investment Board. She serves on the board of Detroit Children’s Fund, is a trustee for Educational Testing Services, and was elected to the Board of Overseers for Harvard University in 2017. She was named a 2019 DBusiness Powered by Women Honoree. In 2020, Dr. Hudson joined the Board of Directors at the Detroit Public Schools Foundation. Most recently, Dr. Hudson became a member of the International Women’s Forum Michigan Chapter.