Leadership Biographies

Ms. Sharon McPhail  - Chief Administrative Officer (CAO)

Sharon McPhail - CAO, Detroit Community Schools. Ms. McPhail has a long and distinguished record as an attorney, a turnaround specialist for local governments, as General Counsel of the City of Detroit, an elected member of the Detroit City Council, and has both teaching and administrative experience. She formerly served as aboard member of DCS. Since coming to DCS, Ms. McPhail has worked tirelessly to meet the district's many challenges, while inspiring and elevating the overall success and achievement levels of each student.

Ms. Patricia Peoples - Director of Human Resources

 Ms. Patricia Peoples, a native Detroiter, became the Director of Human Resources for Detroit Community Schools in 2013. She completed her Bachelor’s Degree at Central Michigan University as well as her MSA at the same University.

Ms. Peoples retired from the AAA Insurance Company after 34 years of service. During her tenure at AAA she became the first woman as well as the first African-American to hold a Claims Insurance Management position. After retirement she founded Peoples Consultant Group and provided Human Resource support to many individuals and groups, including the Congressional Black Caucus PAC and the City of Detroit.

Ms. Peoples currently resides in Detroit with her miniature schnauzer, LoLo, and spend her spare time working in her garden. You can reach her at ppeoples@detcomschools.org.

Mr. William Coleman - Chief Financial Officer/ Compliance Officer

William Coleman currently serves as Chief Financial Officer/ Compliance Officer. Prior to working at DCS, he was the Director of Global Sales & Marketing for a small minority owned business that provided contract manufacturing services & distribution of building supplies to major US defense prime contractors, the US Defense Logistics Agency and the US Postal Service.

He has held senior management positions in internal audit & budgeting in New York City and in finance & operations in the San Francisco, Dallas & Detroit school districts. In addition, he has worked as a management consultant in numerous other urban school districts throughout the country including Los Angeles, CA, Miami-Dade, FL. & Kansas City, MO.

Mr. Coleman has a Bachelor of Business Administration degree from Pace University in New York City and has additional graduate level credits in management & finance from the University of Maryland-University College. He is a Certified Governmental Financial Manager.


Ms. Echelle Jordan - Curriculum Leader

Echelle Jordan believes that each child is a unique individual who needs a secure, caring, and stimulating atmosphere in which to grow and mature emotionally, intellectually, physically, and socially. It is her desire as a educator and administrator to help students and teachers meet their fullest potential in these areas by providing an environment that is safe, supports risk-taking, and invites a sharing of ideas. There are three elements that she believe are conducive to establishing such an environment, (1) the teacher acting as a guide, (2) allowing the child's natural curiosity to direct his/her learning, and (3) promoting respect for all things and all people.

Echelle Jordan taught 14 years before becoming an administrator. Her teaching experience provided an opportunity for continual learning and growth. One of her hopes as an administrator is to instill a love of teaching in teachers, as she share her own passion for learning with them. She feel there is a need for compassionate, strong, and dedicated individuals who are excited about working with children. In our competitive society it is important for students to not only receive a solid education, but to work with someone who is aware of and sensitive to their individual needs. Echelle Jordan is such a person and will always strive to be the best educator and administrator that she can be.

Mr. Bart Eddy - Founder

A seasoned educator, Mr. Eddy brings over 25 years of experience of working with young people in the city of Detroit to DCS. As co-founder of DCS, Mr. Eddy has guided Detroit Community Schools since its inception. In 1983 Mr. Eddy co-founded the Barnabas Youth Opportunities Center, a center that focuses on training urban youth through hands on activities. Mr. Eddy earned a Bachelors degree in English from Franklin and Marshall College. Prior to founding DCS, and after earning a Masters degree in Teaching from Wayne State University, he taught grades one through eight at the Detroit Waldorf School.

Ms. Sylvia A. James -  Dean of Students

Sylvia A. James - is the Dean of Students at Detroit Community Schools (DCS).  In the past, Ms. James was an attorney focusing on education law, labor law and personal injury cases before her election to the District Court bench.  She represented the Inkster Board of Education, Detroit Public Schools, and the Michigan Education Association (MEA).

As Past President of the Wolverine Bar Association and Wayne County District Judges Association, Regional Director of the National Bar Association (NBA), member of the Character and Fitness committee of the State Bar of Michigan and former gubernatorial appointee to the Board of Ethics for the State of Michigan, Dean James brings a wealth of legal experience and years of community service to DCS. 

James founded the Save African American Boys (SAAB) mentoring program, which successfully melded the court, clergy, community and Inkster School District in a collaborative effort which spanned 11 years.  For 20 years, she annually sponsored a law day program for area high school students, which included actual court cases being heard, along with an essay writing and mock trial component.  While serving as Chair of the Judicial Council of the NBA, she executively produced the documentary “Trials, Tribulations and Triumphs,” and commissioned the first edition of “Black Judges in America”. 

Dean James obtained a BA degree and Teaching Certificate from the University of Michigan.  She earned her Jurist Doctorate Degree from the University of Wisconsin.

Ms. Wendy Senkbeil - Principal – Elementary/Middle School 

 Wendy Senkbeil is currently the proud Elementary/Middle School Principal at Detroit Community Schools.  She is currently in her sixth year at DCS and has served as the Elementary/Middle School Principal for the last three years. Ms. Senkbeil’s educational career began in 2008 when she received her Bachelors’ Degree in Education from Eastern Michigan University. Before coming to Detroit Community Schools she taught in Highland Park. During her first year at DCS she received her Masters Degree in K-12 Administration.

Serving the children in the Metro Detroit Area has always been her inspiration, desire, and passion. She ensures the highest accountability and responsibility from faculty, staff and community stakeholders and feels that it is her duty to make sure that all DCS students are afforded a high quality education from their neighborhood school, and are guaranteed a pathway to college and future fulfilling careers.

Mr. Robert Hooper – Principal High School

Robert Hooper believes in motivating the students in all areas of their life.  He has been in education for 16 years and has a MA in Education Administration and Supervision, a BA in Criminal Justice and a Minor in Social Work. One of Mr. Hooper favorite quotes comes from President Barack Obama “ Our destiny is not written for us, it’s written by us.” As an educational leader Mr. Hooper is driven to help all students reach their academic goals and develop the confidence, mental toughness and determination to compete worldwide in the educational arena and in life.


Mr. Anthony M. Wagner - Executive Assistant to the Chief Administrative Officer

Anthony M. Wagner, a 2014 graduate of the University of Michigan-Dearborn with a degree in Liberal Studies (concentrations in Anthropology, Political Science, and Women's & Gender Studies), has experience in an array of areas, including in technology and IT support, teaching and education, graphic design, and client support. Anthony has worked for Detroit Community Schools since May of 2014, initially as a long-term substitute teacher for grades 6-8, and then as the Executive Assistant to the Detroit Community Schools Chief Administrative Officer, where he works presently.


Miss Lillie Riley -  Director of DCS Security

Miss Lillie Riley, who is the current DCS Director of Security, was born and raised in the City of Detroit and has worked at Detroit Community Schools for the past four years.  Since Miss Riley has assumed the Security Directorship she has implemented a plethora of changes that have made the Security Staff more effective and efficient. Before coming to Detroit Community Schools, Miss Riley worked in a wide variety of professional capacities in the food service industry.

Miss Riley attended Detroit Public Schools and studied Child Development at Wayne State University, which has given her a clear understanding of how children develop, and helps her build strong relationships with the students that she watches over.  She describes her style as persistent, while others describe her as professional and personable. Her personal mission is to “Live, Learn and Sacrifice greatly.”


Mr. Leonard Conte - Maintenance Supervisor

Mr. Leonard Conte, the current Maintenance Supervisor at Detroit Community Schools, has a wealth of experience that allows him to do the tasks of his job in a professional and cost saving manner.  He has a Contractor’s License, is skilled in all areas related to Maintenance, has the ability to effectively read Blueprints, is a skilled tool and die builder, and also possesses the skills to build special machinery that helps maintain DCS infrastructure.

In a variety of employment positions that span over 20 years, Mr. Conte has honed and developed a host of skills that makes him a very effective Maintenance Supervisor for Detroit Community Schools. He also has a pleasant personality and love for his job, as well as an appreciation for those he works with. Plus, he thoroughly enjoys being around DCS’s children, or as he says “they are the bright spots in my long days.”

Mrs. Jill Klatt- Coordinator of Special Education Services

Mrs. Klatt demonstrates her commitment to education in her role as Special Education Coordinator for Detroit Community Schools. She has earned a B.A. and M.A. in Education, with an additional endorsement in Special Education.  Mrs. Klatt is currently certified by the Michigan State Department of Education with a Professional Education Teacher Certificate (K-12), and has taught for several years in both special education and general education classrooms. 

Ensuring that all special education students receive a free and appropriate public education in the least restrictive environment possible is her focus. We value her passion for working with students, supporting the special education staff, and researching about the most up to date laws and policies relating to special education services.