Notable Women in Education: Tracey Sparrow

President / Next Door

  • Category: Notable Women in Education
  • Number of years working in your current industry: -25
  • Undergrad degree/university: Tulane University, Bachelor's degree in sociology
  • Graduate degree/university: Doctoral degree in education, Cardinal Stritch University; Doctor of Humanities Honorary Degree from Medical College of Wisconsin; Master's degree in management at University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee

Dr. Tracey Sparrow has spent nearly three decades working in education, primarily serving in Milwaukee. 

In 2000, Sparrow became president and CEO of Milwaukee Academy of Science, a school she helped launch to address a gap in minority achievement in health sciences. She later joined Milwaukee Center for Independence as vice president of children’s programs, where she expanded prenatal programing and led the development of Wells Street Academy for children with complex medical needs.

Sparrow joined Next Door Milwaukee in 2015. As president, she leads 260+ employees working to ensure nearly 1,400 children from under-resourced families have access to high quality early learning. She has forged partnerships with organizations like the Medical College of Wisconsin, Next Step Clinic and Literacy Lab’s Leading Men Fellowship, which engages young Black men as teaching assistants and positive role models at Next Door and other Milwaukee schools. 

In 2020, Sparrow oversaw Next Door’s COVID-19 response. During the pandemic-caused shutdown, she worked to maintain full staffing levels and ran virtual all-staff meetings multiple times a month. Sparrow then led a successful reopening, getting 60% of students safely back in classrooms for the 2020-21 school year with the remainder enrolled virtually.

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