About This Project

Education Week’s annual Leaders To Learn From report shines a light on forward-thinking district leaders who seize on good ideas and execute them well in their school systems.

In school districts across the country, education leaders are using innovative strategies to improve curriculum and instruction, address management challenges, stretch resources, engage parents and communities, utilize new technologies effectively, and create optimal learning environments that prepare all students for success beyond their K-12 years.

By telling their stories, and sharing their challenges and successes along the way, we hope that other educators in the nation’s 14,000-plus districts will learn from their experiences and be inspired to “discover, aspire, and lead” in their own school systems.

As one of our featured leaders puts it:

“Everyone has a fire inside of them, and a good leader is a person that can help find that fire and pour a little fuel on it.”

At the very least, these leaders share best practices and advice on setting a vision and achieving ambitious goals.

While some of the leaders highlighted in these reports have earned renown as superintendents of high-profile districts, many others have achieved great success outside the public eye. They have included a director of nursing services, a parent-engagement expert, an instructional technology director, a director of culinary and nutrition services, a transportation chief, and a school finance professional, among others.

To help find this year’s Leaders To Learn From, Education Week put out a call to readers for nominees. We also sought nominations from state school administrator groups, education reporters around the country, and experts in the K-12 field. Education Week’s own reporters identified leaders who are making a mark within the topical areas they cover. Members of the editorial staff made the final selections.

Each year, our nominations reflect a thirst among educators for two things: a little positive recognition, and some proven models to follow.

Highlighting strong leadership—in districts large and small—can energize fellow educators facing a confluence of pressures to raise student achievement, navigate budget constraints, and implement new policies.

Learn more about our outstanding leaders from 2013, 2014, and 2015.

Meet the honorees at the annual Leaders To Learn From event in Washington.

— The Editors

Produced with support from The Wallace Foundation, at www.wallacefoundation.org