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Howard Fuller

Living Legends
Founder
Howard Fuller Collegiate Academy  |  Milwaukee

Civil rights activist and education reform advocate Howard Fuller has been a national leader in the school choice movement, promoting voucher and charter schools as a vehicle for Black uplift. Fuller’s early education advocacy work in Milwaukee included a successful fight against the conversion of North Division High School, his alma mater, into a magnet school in the late 1970s. Fuller argued that, by drawing families from across Milwaukee to the school, the magnet school would push out local Black students.

In the late ‘80s to early ‘90s, Fuller led Milwaukee County’s Department of Health and Human Services. In 1991, a year after the launch of the city’s comprehensive school voucher program, Fuller became superintendent of Milwaukee Public Schools. Fuller has said his staunch support for school choice is not rooted in free-market principles – a position largely held by conservative proponents of the program – but rather in social justice.

In 2004, Fuller founded his own school, a private voucher school known as CEO Leadership Academy; it later converted to public charter school Milwaukee Collegiate Academy. In 2019, the school was again renamed in Fuller’s honor. Dr. Howard Fuller Collegiate Academy, which is located on Milwaukee’s north side and serves about 325 students, focuses on preparing students for entry into and success in college. This summer, the school launched a $25 million capital campaign to help fund the construction of a new high school building, which could eventually lead to a new feeder middle school.

Fuller is also distinguished professor emeritus of education at Marquette University and founder and director of its Institute for the Transformation of Learning.

Education: Bachelor’s, Carroll University (then College); master’s in administration, Case Western Reserve University; doctorate in sociological foundations of education, Marquette University

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