By Staff


In these trying times we find ourselves, strong leadership is a must and when it comes to educating our children it takes an even more specialized form of leadership. The Benton Harbor School District is fortunate to have Dr. Andrae Townsel as Superintendent. He’s a compassionate leader with his eyes set on the future and he won’t stop till every child gets the education they deserve.

Dr. Andraé Townsel is a graduate of Detroit Public Schools (Cass Tech High School). He attended Howard University as a student athlete (football scholarship) in 2002. Dr. Townsel earned his bachelors, masters, and doctorate degree from Howard University. He began working in public education, in the District of Columbia, from 2008 until 2016.


In 2016, Dr. Townsel was appointed to turn around one of the lowest performing high schools in the State of Massachusetts by the Department of Secondary and Elementary Education. The district suffered from a lack of stable leadership, diversity, and there was racial tension. He became the 1st African-American high school principal in the history of the Town of Southbridge where he increased their academic performance at an admirable growth rate.

Dr. Townsel's work was highlighted by former United States Secretary of Education, Dr. John King in a speech titled "Lead with your legacy in mind."

In March of 2018, Dr. Townsel returned to his home state of Michigan. He served as the Assistant Superintendent of Wayne-Westland Community Schools. He oversaw and supported over 10,000 students in 20 schools across the district.

After seeing steady improvement in the Wayne-Westland Community School District, Dr. Townsel began serving as the Superintendent of Benton Harbor Area Schools in February 2020.


In an interview in the Detroit from May of this year he said he wants to get away from talk of shutting schools in the Southwest Michigan district. "I trust in the training I received. I believe in the people of Benton Harbor. They were bold enough to fight for their district. I want to join the fight and be with them," Townsel said.

And he is getting his chance; Howard University has made him a highly effective educational leader. He certainly has the ability to successfully navigate the political landscape in a time where race is at the forefront of discussion in our country.

Dr. Townsel has amassed quite an impressive resume all at the tender age of 36. His age uniquely qualifies him for the position. He can relate to these students and he understands the importance of technology and setting your sights on the future.

In April of this year, Dr. Townsel told Crain’s Detroit Business,"I really believe and feel in my heart of hearts that I was designed for Benton Harbor," Townsel said. "I was designed to lead a district like Benton Harbor."

And it only takes a few moments of talking to him to feel his passion. There isn’t any doubt that Dr. Townsel will break the cycle and turn around this district. He has the vision and education and mostly, the love for the children.

The future is bright in the Bento Harbor School District with Dr. Townsel leading the way.