June 21, 2018
Chiefs for Change Adds Four New Members

Chiefs for Change today announced that it has added four new members to its diverse, bipartisan network of state and district Chiefs:

●      Emmanuel Caulk: Superintendent, Fayette County Schools, Kentucky

●      Sharon Contreras: Superintendent, Guilford County Schools, North Carolina

●      Donald Fennoy: Superintendent, The School District of Palm Beach County, Florida

●      Scott Muri: Superintendent, Spring Branch Independent School District, Texas

Like all members of Chiefs for Change, they believe every child deserves a high-quality education and pathways to college and meaningful careers. The four new Chiefs are leading courageous conversations about educational equity and are champions for policies that prioritize students’ needs. As systems leaders, they have implemented a range of school choice initiatives to give families greater access to excellent schools and instructional programs, supported efforts to provide all teachers with top-tier instructional materials and related professional learning, and developed programs and partnerships to set students up for success long after graduation.

“We are pleased to welcome this impressive group of educators into our community,” Chiefs for Change Board Chair and Louisiana State Superintendent of Education John White said. “They have shown a deep commitment to expanding opportunity for all children and are leading innovative work in their districts. As members of our network, they will play an important role in our national and state-level efforts to promote policies and practices that are best for students.”

Members of Chiefs for Change lead education systems that collectively serve approximately 7 million students and employ 435,000 teachers in 14,000 schools. The group has 31 members, 25 of whom are actively serving as Chiefs. Of that group, 16 are district Chiefs and nine are state Chiefs.

The Chiefs for Change advocacy agenda is focused on several key areas:

●      Equitable access to outstanding schools

●      High-quality curriculum and the supports for teachers to use it effectively

●      College affordability and completion

●      Safe and welcoming schools where children are free to learn, free from fear.

 Fifty-eight percent of the members are leaders of color, and 42 percent are women. As part of its commitment to expanding diversity in education leadership, Chiefs for Change operates a well-respected Future Chiefs program, which identifies some of the most talented emerging leaders and integrates them into a community with current Chiefs. The program provides a set of experiences, placement supports, and preparation that will enable school systems to choose skilled, ready leaders. One of the new members announced today, Donald Fennoy, was part of the second cohort of the Future Chiefs program. After completing the program, he recently ascended to the top position in Palm Beach County, where he succeeded former Superintendent and Chiefs for Change member Robert Avossa.

Fennoy and the other new members were selected following a rigorous review process. Chiefs for Change staff conducted conversations with all four individuals and did extensive research before presenting the slate of candidates to the Board of Directors. The Board voted to approve them into membership earlier this month.

“These new Chiefs not only share our values, they have a track record of acting on those beliefs and standing up for kids,” Chiefs for Change CEO Mike Magee explained. “Each one of them is a strong, effective leader. They are committed to creating schools that will allow every child to achieve his or her potential and realize the American dream.”

Quotes from New Members:

Emmanuel Caulk / Fayette County, KY: “For far too many of our most vulnerable children, demography continues to equal their destiny. In the Fayette County Public Schools, we are committed to achieving excellence and equity for all students by providing access and opportunity to drive dramatic gains and overcome disparities that exist well before they enter kindergarten. Understanding that the most effective unit of change is the school, we seek to empower our teachers and leaders with the needed district and community supports to help every child reach his or her unlimited potential. As a learning organization, we are always seeking new ideas and innovative models with proven success in addressing this moral imperative, and joining Chiefs for Change will strengthen our efforts.”

Sharon Contreras / Guilford County, NC: “In Guilford County, we are transforming our campuses so that every child has access to a great school close to home. It’s an essential component of our strategic plan, and our community is engaging in important discussions about equity for all students. Chiefs for Change is leading similar conversations at the national level, and I am excited to support this critical work.”

Donald Fennoy / Palm Beach County, FL: “I have pledged to the Palm Beach community that our district will be a model for equity and for leading with dignity and respect. I have learned a tremendous amount from Dr. Avossa and the members of Chiefs for Change. They have served as my mentors. I am honored to join them and to be a part of this extraordinary group.” 

Scott Muri / Spring Branch ISD, TX: “Chiefs for Change is a group of state and district leaders with fresh, out-of-the-box thinking about how to create schools that personalize learning. Much like our work in Spring Branch ISD, the members are developing new approaches that center around students’ unique skills, interests, and learning styles. With the Every Student Succeeds Act providing greater opportunities for innovation, this is an exciting time for us to share ideas and design entirely new instructional models.”

All Chiefs for Change Members

  • Malika Anderson: Former Superintendent of the Achievement School District, Tennessee
  • Katy Anthes: Commissioner of Education, Colorado
  • Robert Avossa: Former Superintendent of The School District of Palm Beach County, Florida
  • Desmond K. Blackburn: Superintendent of Brevard County Schools, Florida
  • Tom Boasberg: Superintendent of Denver Public Schools, Colorado
  • Steve Canavero: Superintendent of Public Instruction, Nevada
  • Emmanuel Caulk: Superintendent of Fayette County Schools, Kentucky
  • Christopher D. Cerf: Former Superintendent of Newark Public Schools, New Jersey
  • Tommy Chang: Superintendent of Boston Public Schools, Massachusetts
  • Veronica Conforme: Former Chancellor of the Education Achievement Authority, Michigan
  • Sharon Contreras: Superintendent of Schools in Guilford County, North Carolina
  • Paolo DeMaria: Superintendent of Public Instruction, Ohio
  • Lewis D. Ferebee: Superintendent of Indianapolis Public Schools, Indiana
  • Donald Fennoy: Superintendent of The School District of Palm Beach County, Florida
  • Deborah A. Gist: Superintendent of Tulsa Public Schools, Oklahoma
  • William R. Hite, Jr.: Superintendent of The School District of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
  • Barbara Jenkins: Superintendent of Orange County Public Schools, Florida
  • Hanseul Kang: State Superintendent of Education, District of Columbia
  • Christina M. Kishimoto: Superintendent, Hawaii
  • Pedro Martinez: Superintendent of San Antonio Independent School District, Texas
  • Candice McQueen: Commissioner of Education, Tennessee
  • Scott Muri: Superintendent of Spring Branch Independent School District, Texas
  • Kunjan Narechania: CEO of the Recovery School District, Louisiana
  • Paymon Rouhanifard: Superintendent of Camden City School District, New Jersey
  • Robert W. Runcie: Superintendent of Broward County Schools, Florida
  • Christopher Ruszkowski: Secretary-Designate of Education, New Mexico
  • Sonja Santelises: CEO of Baltimore City Public Schools, Maryland
  • Hanna Skandera: Former Secretary of Education, New Mexico
  • John White: State Superintendent of Education, Louisiana
  • Antwan Wilson: Former Chancellor of DC Public Schools, District of Columbia
  • Carey M. Wright: State Superintendent of Education, Mississippi

Members of Chiefs for Change may remain in membership for up to 18 months after they have left their posts as state or district Chiefs. View a map of all members here.


About Chiefs for Change

Chiefs for Change is a nonprofit, bipartisan network of diverse state and district education Chiefs dedicated to preparing all students for today’s world and tomorrow’s through deeply committed leadership. Chiefs for Change advocates for policies and practices that are making a difference today for students, and builds a pipeline of talented, diverse Future Chiefs ready to lead major school systems.