Michael Casserly has served as Executive Director of the Council of the Great City Schools since January 1992. Casserly also served as the organization's Director of Legislation and Research for 15 years before assuming his current position. As head of the urban school group, Casserly unified big city schools nationwide around a vision of reform and improvement; launched an aggressive research program on trends in urban education; convened the first Education Summit of Big City Mayors and Superintendents; led the nation's largest urban school districts to volunteer for the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP); led the first national study of common practices among the nation's fastest improving urban school districts, and launched national task forces on achievement gaps, leadership and governance, finance, professional development, and bilingual education. He is currently spearheading efforts to boost academic performance in the nation's big city schools; strengthening management and operations; challenging inequitable state financing systems; and improving the public's image of urban education. He is a U.S. Army veteran, and holds a Ph.D. from the University of Maryland and B.A. from Villanova University.