August 16, 2023
Chiefs for Change Launches Rising Stars Initiative

Chiefs for Change, a bipartisan network of district superintendents and state education commissioners, this week launched the Rising Stars leadership development initiative. Rising Stars supports emerging leaders who recently joined a K-12 system cabinet or are on the cusp of doing so. Individuals selected for the year-long initiative are senior staff in:

  • Aldine Independent School District
  • District of Columbia Public Schools
  • Duval County Public Schools
  • East Baton Rouge Parish School System
  • Edmonds School District
  • Henry County Schools
  • Hillsborough County Public Schools
  • NOLA Public Schools
  • Tulsa Public Schools.

The educators were nominated by members of Chiefs for Change and share the network’s core beliefs. Through the program, Rising Stars will learn how to maximize their impact in their current leadership role. They will also learn about potential pathways for becoming a district superintendent or state education leader.

Rising Stars is an extension of Chiefs for Change’s efforts to build the K-12 leadership pipeline. The network’s signature initiative in this area is Future Chiefs, a program for individuals ready to take the next step in their career and become a superintendent or state education leader. Out of 59 educators across seven cohorts of the Future Chiefs program, 56 percent have become superintendents or state chiefs. Of these, 78 percent are leaders of color, and 51 percent are women.

“We have great success in helping the educators who come through our Future Chiefs program become superintendents,” said Chiefs for Change CEO Robert Runcie. “Across our membership, many of our chiefs have also highlighted the need for talented individuals to serve in cabinet and key operational positions. We recognized that the network’s leadership development efforts must be broader than helping aspiring superintendents or state chiefs prepare for the top job. With Rising Stars, we are targeting a level below the superintendent–to develop those educators to excel in their current roles and help them grow as leaders.”

Learning experiences in the Rising Stars program include:

  • Individualized monthly coaching from a member of Chiefs for Change.
  • Quarterly virtual peer-to-peer sessions to work through case studies of problems of practice.
  • Virtual events designed with an emphasis on bold, innovative leadership practice.
  • Access to the Chiefs for Change network of members and partners.

“Professionals who serve on K-12 cabinets participate in critical decisions that impact students and schools,” said Barbara Jenkins, the former superintendent of Orange County Public Schools who supports the Rising Stars initiative as a chief in residence at Chiefs for Change. “In our leadership development work, we perceived a significant need to support these individuals as part of our effort to create highly effective leadership teams. By investing in individuals who demonstrate potential, Rising Stars aims to provide senior leaders with team members who bring commitment and a sense of urgency to positively impact student outcomes.”

The inaugural Rising Stars learning community is gathering as a group for the first time this month. For more information on Chiefs for Change’s leadership development initiatives, please click here.