Joseph Meloche

Recognized for Leadership in Elevating Student Voice

  • Expertise: Elevating Student Voice
  • Position: Superintendent
  • District: Cherry Hill Public Schools, Cherry Hill, N.J.

When Superintendent Joseph Meloche weighs a major decision for his school district, he often turns to some of his most trusted advisers: students.

Helming the Cherry Hill, N.J., public schools since 2015, Meloche has made student opinion and feedback a central part of his strategy to get the best performance out of his already high-flying suburban district.

He convenes regular town hall meetings at schools across the district and actively seeks the opinions and experiences of students who aren’t the most likely to speak out. He even taps into a reserve of district alumni to gain insights into how their schooling experience could have better prepared them for life after high school.

What are the results of Meloche’s ongoing dialogue with members of the 11,000 student body in Cherry Hill? Students have surfaced problems that school leaders hadn’t spotted on their own and brought forth fresh ideas for how to solve them, he says.

“I believe that we need to make sure their voice, their opinions, their thoughts are shared and that we actually listen to them,” Meloche says. “We forget that kids, this is their one time coming through high school. This is the one experience that they have and we need to ask them what they think.”

Lessons from the Leader

  • Listen, Then Act: Ask students what is going well, what needs to be improved, and what they need to be successful. Then, act on what they tell you.
  • Words Matter: Use your words to build, to create, to empower, to guide, and children will follow suit.
  • Build Relationships: Go out and meet families in their homes, attend community events, spend time in the library speaking with families and neighbors, cultivate relationships with alums.
More Leaders of 2018

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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