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Leadership Team

The three partners leading American Promise Schools have a solid track record of leading and supporting successful urban schools and reform efforts.

 Doug Ross, President, American Promise Schools


Doug is a former State Senator, Michigan Commerce Director, and U.S. Assistant Secretary of Labor. In 1999 he formed the non-profit New Urban Learning (NUL) to figure out how to graduate Detroit children from high school and send them to college and technical schools at the same rate as affluent suburban communities like Birmingham and Grosse Pointe. With generous support from philanthropist Bob Thompson, Ross started seven University Prep charter schools in Detroit that demonstrated the ability to graduate more than 90% of their open-admissions Detroit children from high school and enroll more than 90% in college every year beginning with the first high school graduating classes in 2007.

 Melissa Hamann, CEO, American Promise Schools


Another native Detroiter, Melissa began her career as a management consultant for Bain & Company. After earning an MBA from Cornell University, she decided to employ her business background to support urban school reform efforts in Chicago, Boston, and New York. Melissa returned to Detroit to serve as Deputy Chief of Staff for the Detroit Public Schools Emergency Manager. Melissa brings considerable financial and operational expertise to APS.

 Joe Tenbusch, Chief Schools Officer, American Promise Schools


Joe is a native Detroiter and Harvard graduate who began his teaching career at the first Noble Street charter school in Chicago. He ultimately went on to found and serve as Principal for the Rowe-Clark Math and Science Academy in Chicago, the fourth school in the nationally renowned Noble Network of charter schools. Joe currently serves as the Superintendent of American Promise Schools. Along with a stellar track record of putting students on the path to college and beyond, Joe brings extraordinary knowledge of instructional and behavioral systems to his role.