Linda S. Hicks

“In education, I believe we don’t have a day to spare, so people probably think I’m too hands-on, but it’s the only way I can know what’s happening. ... There is no part of my being that accepts that kids are not performing at high levels.”
— Brian Widdis for Education Week
— Brian Widdis for Education Week
Focus of Strength:STEM Education
Position:Superintendent
District:Battle Creek Public Schools, Mich.

Veteran educator Linda S. Hicks arrived in 2010 to lead the city school district in Battle Creek, Mich. Capitalizing on its multinational food manufacturers and nearby research and training facilities, she immediately decided to tap the area’s potential as a source of future STEM-focused jobs for many of her students.

And so she began taking steps to enhance the 5,300-student district’s STEM offerings, including revamping an elementary school and a middle school to bring a STEM focus. In addition, she launched a districtwide STEM education panel to help build a strong and sustained vision for education in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics.

“This is the perfect place [for an emphasis on those disciplines], because there are so many future STEM opportunities for kids,” says Hicks.

Noting the district’s high concentration of students living in poverty—about 75 percent are eligible for free or reduced-price lunch—she says: “We have some of the most vulnerable children. [They] need to be inspired. … Our kids need to see some real potential opportunities for their future.”

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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.

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