Leaders To Learn From 2014 Report

Leaders to Learn From 2014 Report Cover

With each Leaders To Learn From report, Education Week‘s aim is simply to shine a light on forward-thinking district leaders who seized on good ideas and executed them well in their school systems. The hope is that other educators—and future leaders—in the nation’s 14,000-plus districts will learn from these leaders’ stories and be inspired to “dream more, do more, and become more” in their own districts.

Like last year’s inaugural report, this 2014 edition profiles 16 district-level leaders. Hailing from 14 states, these leaders serve communities big and small, from rural Alaska to New York City.

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Dennis J. Dupree Sr.

Schools Chief Raises Academic Bar for Students in a Mississippi District

In Clarksdale, a superintendent’s recipe for improving schools includes themed magnet schools, tougher academics, citywide school choice, and a big infusion of grant money.

Bertrand Weber

Minneapolis Leader Turns School Cafeterias Into 'Real Kitchens'

After a long career in the hospitality industry, Bertrand Weber has developed the recipe for creating cachet around school lunches and making them healthier for students.

Julie A. Bowline

Colorado Administrator Forges New Path for School Librarians

When budget cuts forced her district to cut back on librarians’ schedules, Julie A. Bowline re-deployed her librarians as digital literacy teachers.

Steven Hodas

Ex-'Outsider' Chips Away at School Procurement Process in N.Y.C.

With innovations like the Gap App Challenge and the Music Education Hackathon, Steven Hodas wants to bridge "the moat" between schools and technology entrepreneurs.

Aaron Grossman

Teachers Lead the Way in Nevada Leader’s Common-Core Project

Aaron Grossman steered Washoe County’s efforts to implement curriculum standards by eschewing commercial interpretations of the standards and enlisting teachers to figure out what works for them.

Maria Santos

Calif. Leader Keeps English-Learners in Academic Mix

In Oakland, Maria Santos uses ‘instructional rounds,’ much like those in teaching hospitals, to coach educators on how to best involve ELL students in academic discourse.
— Swikar Patel/Education Week

Tracy Hill

Cleveland Administrator Launches College Tours for Parents

For many families in Cleveland, the Parent University College Tours organized by Tracy Hill, are their first introduction to a college campus.

B.J. Worthington

Tenn. Schools Chief Digs Deep for STEM Learning

Teacher 'externships,' a STEM academy, and an emphasis on solving real-world problems form the backbone of a comprehensive STEM initiative in the Clarksville-Montgomery County school system.

Kelvin R. Adams & Mary J. Armstrong

St. Louis Schools Leaders Team Up on Preschool Expansion

Facing dropping student enrollments, a superintendent and a teachers’ union leader collaborated to open up more preschool seats and keep their struggling district viable.

Gail Pletnick

Ariz. Leader Uses Technology to Personalize Learning

Under Gail Pletnick’s leadership, students in Dysart’s schools are learning at their own pace, only moving on when they’ve fully grasped concepts.

Nicholas Gledich

Colo. Superintendent Shares Lessons on Crisis Management

After seeing his district through a raging wildfire, Nicholas Gledich asked his staff to offer their battle-tested wisdom to another district threatened by wildfire.

Dan Walker

Alaskan Leader Keeps Rural Students Connected

Geography is no barrier for students in the Lower Kuskokwim district who can take classes in digital photography and robotics via technology.

Robert Runcie

Broward Superintendent Builds Bridges With Charters, Community

The Florida K-12 district was at odds with its 95 charter schools before Robert Runcie came along with an agenda for change and collaboration.

Dennis W. Creedon

Philadelphia Leader Makes the Case for Arts Education

By marshaling research evidence, finding outside partners, and nailing grants, Dennis Creedon has kept a robust arts program alive in his financially strapped school system.

Mary Newell

Nursing Director Ensures Students Are Really 'Ready to Learn'

In Kent, Wash., Mary Newell has rolled out several strategies to help students manage their health problems and make the most of their time in the classroom.

2015 Agenda

7:15 a.m.–8:00 a.m.
Networking Breakfast
Join for breakfast with leaders who work in the fields of most interest to you. There’ll be tables for parent engagement, school climate, ed tech, and more!

8:00 a.m.–8:25 a.m.
Welcome, Introductions, and Recognition Presentation
Recognition of the work of 8 of the 15—2015 Leaders To Learn From selected by Education Week.

8:25 a.m.–8:40 a.m.
Breakouts—Meet the Leaders
First 8 Leaders will go to their subject matter tables located throughout the room to discuss with attendees their “Focus of Strength” and to answer any questions attendees have. (Attendees will be encouraged to find their table of interest based on the map of the room provided in the program).

8:40 a.m.–9:10 a.m.
Recognition Presentation Concludes
Recognition of the work of our final 7 Leaders To Learn From.

9:10 a.m.–9:35 a.m
Breakouts—Meet the Leaders
Second group of Leaders will go to their subject matter tables located throughout the room to discuss with attendees their “Focus of Strength” and to answer any questions attendees have.

9:35 a.m.–10:05 a.m.
District Leader Snapshots
(A selection of 2015 Leaders will come to the stage with their reporters and discuss their “Focus of Strength.”)

10:05 a.m.–10:30 a.m.
Midmorning Networking Break

10:30 a.m.–11:30 a.m.
“Three Keys for Maximizing Leadership Impact”
Michael Fullan, education leadership author and expert, and former minister of education, Canada (2003–2013).

11:30 a.m.–12:00 a.m.
District Leader Snapshots
(A selection of 2015 Leaders will come to the stage with their reporters and discuss their “Focus of Strength”).

12:00 a.m.– 12:30 p.m.
“Ask the ED”
Join in a Department of Education Lightning Round featuring Assistant U.S. Secretary of Education Deborah S. Delisle other Department of Education leadership who will take your questions.

12:30 p.m.–1:30 p.m.
Networking Luncheon
Uninterrupted time to mingle with those you’ve met at your tables and at the various tables set up throughout the room during our break-outs.