October 24, 2019
Chiefs for Change Adds Five New Members

Chiefs for Change today announced five chiefs have joined the bipartisan network of state and district education leaders:

  • Eric Gordon, CEO, Cleveland Metropolitan School District
  • Angélica Infante-Green, Commissioner of Elementary and Secondary Education, Rhode Island
  • Aleesia Johnson, Superintendent, Indianapolis Public Schools
  • Michael Johnson, Commissioner of Education, Alaska
  • Elliot Smalley, Superintendent, South Carolina Public Charter School District

“Each one of these chiefs brings an important perspective to our network,” Chiefs for Change CEO Mike Magee said. “At the state level, Angélica Infante-Green is raising expectations for all children in Rhode Island and leading a courageous effort to turn around one of the most troubled city school systems in the country. Michael Johnson, meanwhile, is providing students in rural communities with education pathways connected to jobs of the future in Alaska and beyond. At the district level, the superintendents of two large urban systems in the Midwest, Eric Gordon in Cleveland and Aleesia Johnson in Indianapolis, are spearheading critical initiatives to address long-standing disparities in academic performance through innovative school models that promote quality and equity. And Elliot Smalley is working to increase options for families in South Carolina so that every child can attend the school that’s right for them. We know these chiefs will have a lot to share with our community and will be powerful voices in our advocacy.”

Members of Chiefs for Change advance policies and practices that make a difference for students. The chiefs have worked to expand school choice initiatives, establish strong accountability systems, promote the use of high-quality instructional materials, and create pathways that ensure students graduate ready for college and meaningful careers.

Chiefs for Change currently has 38 members, 32 of whom are actively serving as chiefs. Of that group, 23 are district chiefs and 9 are state chiefs. Fifty-five percent of the members are leaders of color, and 42 percent are women. Two of the new members, Angélica Infante-Green and Aleesia Johnson, participated in the Chiefs for Change Future Chiefs program, which aims to develop the next generation of education leaders by providing coaching, mentorship, and other learning opportunities for senior-level education administrators who want to become chiefs.

Member quotes

Eric Gordon: “Chiefs for Change has long been a respected, bipartisan network of education leaders who put children’s interests above all else. I am honored to join the current membership and believe what our community is achieving in Cleveland can add value to the work Chiefs for Change is doing at the national level.”

Angélica Infante-Green: “Too many schools in Rhode Island are failing students—and we simply will not allow this to continue. My participation in the Future Chiefs program prepared me for the enormous challenge of fixing a broken system so that all children receive the education they deserve. I am proud to be a member of Chiefs for Change, and share the bold vision of my colleagues around the country to reimagine education for all students.”

Aleesia Johnson: “The support I received through the Future Chiefs program was critical in my journey to become the first African-American woman to lead Indianapolis Public Schools. I have deep respect for the work that Chiefs for Change is doing to ensure equity throughout our nation’s schools and look forward to serving as a member of the network.”

Michael Johnson: “Chiefs for Change is helping to shape the future of education in this country. Individually and as a group, members are having a positive impact on student learning. I am excited to be a part of the network and eager to share what we’re doing in Alaska while hearing from others about the ways they are making a difference.”

Elliot Smalley: “The members of Chiefs for Change are strong supporters of school choice systems that provide quality, equitable access, and equitable funding. In their recent statement, they affirmed what we know to be the case in South Carolina: high-performing public charter schools help to improve the quality of education in a community. I am pleased to join a group working to ensure America’s schools meet students’ diverse needs.”

Current members of Chiefs for Change


  • Rob Anderson: Superintendent, Boulder Valley School District, Colorado
  • Katy Anthes: Commissioner of Education, Colorado
  • Desmond Blackburn: Former Superintendent, Brevard County Schools, Florida
  • Tom Boasberg: Former Superintendent, Denver Public Schools, Colorado
  • Steve Canavero: Former Superintendent of Public Instruction, Nevada
  • Emmanuel Caulk: Superintendent, Fayette County Public Schools, Kentucky
  • Sharon Contreras: Superintendent, Guilford County Schools, North Carolina
  • Susana Cordova: Superintendent, Denver Public Schools, Colorado
  • John Deasy: Superintendent, Stockton Unified School District, California
  • Paolo DeMaria: Superintendent of Public Instruction, Ohio
  • Susan Enfield: Superintendent, Highline Public Schools, Washington
  • Donald Fennoy: Superintendent, The School District of Palm Beach County, Florida
  • Lewis Ferebee: Chancellor, DC Public Schools, District of Columbia
  • Chad Gestson: Superintendent, Phoenix Union High School District, Arizona
  • Deborah Gist: Superintendent, Tulsa Public Schools, Oklahoma
  • Eric Gordon: CEO, Cleveland Metropolitan School District, Ohio
  • Bill Hite: Superintendent, the School District of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
  • Angélica Infante-Green: Commissioner of Elementary and Secondary Education, Rhode Island
  • Janice Jackson: CEO, Chicago Public Schools, Illinois
  • Barbara Jenkins: Superintendent, Orange County Public Schools, Florida
  • Aleesia Johnson: Superintendent, Indianapolis Public Schools
  • Michael Johnson: Commissioner of Education, Alaska
  • Hanseul Kang: State Superintendent of Education, District of Columbia
  • Christina Kishimoto: Superintendent, Hawaii
  • Henderson Lewis, Jr.: Superintendent, NOLA Public Schools, Louisiana
  • Pedro Martinez: Superintendent, San Antonio Independent School District, Texas
  • Candice McQueen: Former Commissioner of Education, Tennessee
  • Scott Muri: Superintendent, Ector County Independent School District, Texas
  • Kunjan Narechania: CEO, Recovery School District, Louisiana
  • Orlando Riddick: Superintendent, Midland Independent School District, Texas
  • Paymon Rouhanifard: Former Superintendent, Camden City School District, New Jersey
  • Robert Runcie: Superintendent, Broward County Public Schools, Florida
  • Christopher Ruszkowski: Former Secretary of Education, New Mexico
  • Sonja Santelises: CEO, Baltimore City Public Schools, Maryland
  • Penny Schwinn: Commissioner of Education, Tennessee
  • Elliot Smalley: Superintendent, South Carolina Public Charter School District
  • John White: State Superintendent of Education, Louisiana
  • Carey Wright: State Superintendent of Education, Mississippi


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.