June 29, 2021
Chiefs for Change Announces Sixth Cohort of Future Chiefs

WASHINGTON, D.C.—Chiefs for Change, a bipartisan network of state and district education chiefs, today announced the sixth cohort of its Future Chiefs ​leadership development program:

  • Devin Fletcher, Chief Talent and Equity Officer, Tulsa Public Schools (OK)
  • Jacob Oliva, Chancellor, Division of Public Schools, Florida Department of Education (FL)
  • Dr. Heather Peske, Senior Associate Commissioner for Instructional Support, Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (MA)
  • Dr. Thomas Taylor, Deputy Superintendent, Chesterfield County Public Schools (VA)
  • Heather Tow-Yick, Deputy Superintendent, Mukilteo School District (WA)
  • Dr. Avis Williams, Superintendent, Selma City Schools (AL)
  • Dr. Theresa Williams, Chief Operating Officer, Plano Independent School District (TX)
  • André Wright, Chief Academic Officer, Aurora Public Schools (CO)
  • Iranetta Wright, Deputy Superintendent of Schools, Detroit Public Schools Community District (MI)

Future Chiefs are bold, innovative leaders who are helping transform our nation’s schools and preparing to lead state or large district education systems. As participants in the yearlong Future Chiefs program, they engage in collective learning on issues central to effective leadership and receive coaching and mentorship from members of the Chiefs for Change network.

“Covid and the events of the past year and a half have tested education systems across the country with challenges that go well beyond what K-12 leaders have traditionally faced,” said Chiefs for Change Board Chair and San Antonio Independent School District Superintendent Pedro Martinez. “It has never been more important for those of us who are superintendents or state commissioners to support the next generation of leaders by sharing our experience and what we have learned during this crisis, in particular. The members of our new Future Chiefs cohort will play an important role in shaping public education as our nation recovers from the pandemic and strives to create better, more equitable schools for our children.”

Today’s announcement comes as six alumni of the Future Chiefs program assume the top job at education systems across the country this summer:

  • Mohammed Choudhury, State Superintendent of Schools, Maryland State Department of Education (MD)
  • Dr. Margaret Crespo, Superintendent, Laramie County School District 1 (WY)
  • Christine Fowler-Mack, Superintendent, Akron Public Schools (OH)
  • Dr. Christina Grant, Acting State Superintendent of Education, District of Columbia Office of the State Superintendent of Education (DC)
  • Brian Kingsley, Superintendent, Poudre School District (CO)
  • Dr. LaTanya McDade, Superintendent, Prince William County Public Schools (VA)

“This is a time unlike any othernot only because of the trials of the past year, but because of the new opportunities that are before us as well,” said Chiefs for Change Chief in Residence and Board Member Janice Jackson, the outgoing Chicago Public Schools CEO. “The members of this cohort will need to make sound decisions about how to use the historic infusion of federal funding for schools and how to track the impact of those dollars. Leaders must also address longstanding inequities in education that have been made worse during the pandemic, and they must find ways to meet families’ changing needs with more flexible school options and instructional models. My colleagues in Chiefs for Change and I are committed to doing everything we can through our Future Chiefs program to prepare and support these leaders at this critically important time.”

Twenty-two alumni, or more than half of all those who have participated in the Future Chiefs program, have become chiefs. They lead systems that collectively serve 2.9 million students, with 199,000 teachers in 4,800 schools, and oversee annual budgets that collectively total $35 billion. Eighty-two percent of Future Chiefs alumni who now serve as chiefs are leaders of color. Forty-five percent are women.

“We created our Future Chiefs program to build a strong pipeline of leaders who are ready to serve,” said Chiefs for Change CEO Mike Magee. “Leadership always matters, but that is especially true at this extraordinary moment. I am certain that the alumni of our program who are taking new jobs as systems leaders and the educators who are a part of our new cohort will put children first in all of the work that lies ahead.”

To learn more about the Future Chiefs program, visit this page.

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