About This Project

“We are here to serve. Whatever it is that our community, our teachers, our parents, and especially our students need, it’s our job to give it to them.”

Those words—from Sharon Griffin, the chief of schools in Tennessee’s Shelby County school district—capture the essence of Education Week’s 2017 class of Leaders To Learn From.

A striking combination of tenacity and humility runs deep through this diverse array of education leaders. They are single-minded about improving the lives of the students and communities they serve. But they understand that they are part of an enterprise much bigger than any one person, and that the work of successfully educating and supporting students can only be done by teams of committed players.

Some are superintendents—like one who has overseen a more than decade-long effort to fully integrate new communities of immigrants and another who leads an ambitious effort to break cycles of family poverty through extensive academic and nonacademic interventions. Others are high-impact administrators responsible for turning around struggling schools or expanding the numbers of students who receive gifted education services.

All of them are humble. All of them are tenacious.

And all of them provide indisputable evidence that delivering high-quality teaching and learning in the nation’s public schools keeps its promise of putting young people on a solid path to successful and fulfilled lives.

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, 2015, 2016, and 2017.

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

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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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