September 7, 2023
Chiefs for Change Announces Additions to Its Board of Directors and Membership

Chiefs for Change today announced additions to its board of directors and membership. The following superintendents have joined the group’s board:

  • Gustavo Balderas, superintendent of Beaverton School District in Oregon.
  • Aleesia Johnson, superintendent of Indianapolis Public Schools in Indiana.
  • Scott Muri, superintendent of Ector County Independent School District in Texas.

All three superintendents have been strong advocates for more federal support to sustain initiatives funded with Covid relief aid that are making a difference. Balderas’ comments are included in the June 2023 Chiefs for Change report, A Work in Progress: How Covid Aid Is Helping Schools Recover and the Need for Sustained Federal Support. Johnson and Muri are featured in the network’s latest report, Accelerating Learning: How K-12 Systems Are Moving Forward and Making Gains. That report, issued yesterday, outlines strategies districts and states are using to improve academic performance in key areas.

The chiefs join Chiefs for Change Chairman Pedro Martinez, the CEO of Chicago Public Schools, and Maryland State Superintendent of Schools Mohammed Choudhury; District of Columbia Public Schools Chancellor Lewis Ferebee; Aldine Independent School District Superintendent LaTonya Goffney; and Former Phoenix Union High School District Superintendent Chad Gestson, on the board of directors.

“I’m so pleased to welcome these distinguished colleagues to the board,” said Chairman Martinez. “With their experience leading systems in different regions of the country, they bring important perspectives to guide our advocacy and inform our shared learning as a community of practice. Driven by a relentless focus on student outcomes, they have implemented intensive academic interventions to help children catch up. They are using excellent materials and are providing rigorous coursework so students learn at a high level. They are ensuring young people have a variety of experiences and opportunities–like bilingual programs and work-based learning–that put them on a path to a bright future. Through it all, these leaders are optimistic, energized, and extremely serious about the work: They are finding ways to give students what they need to succeed.”

The network today also welcomed Chiefs for Change alumnus Susana Córdova back into active membership after she was appointed commissioner of education in Colorado and announced that five other superintendents have joined the network as members. They are:

  • Andrea Castañeda, superintendent of Salem-Keizer School District in Oregon.
  • Terry Connor, superintendent of Sarasota County Schools in Florida.
  • Devon Horton, superintendent of DeKalb County School District in Georgia.
  • Arsenio Romero, secretary of education for the New Mexico Public Education Department.
  • Keisha Scarlett, superintendent of Saint Louis Public Schools in Missouri.

The five new members, Córdova, and Johnson are alumni of the Chiefs for Change Future Chiefs leadership development program. The program identifies talented, diverse emerging leaders and integrates them into a community of practice. Future Chiefs receive coaching and mentorship from superintendents, commissioners, and education system CEOs and participate in a variety of other relevant learning opportunities.

“There is great momentum across our network right now,” said Chiefs for Change CEO Robert Runcie. “Chiefs are motivated by the urgency of this moment; by what they are hearing from their communities about what they want for their schools; and by the signs of progress in their systems. There is no doubt that many young people in America are struggling, and there are tremendous challenges in K-12 education. But there is also tremendous opportunity. The power of our network lies in the collaboration of our members–leaders who serve in a variety of contexts but are united in what they know is possible for this special generation of students and those who will follow them. Chiefs for Change is thrilled that the individuals named today will take on expanded and new roles in our organization.”

With these additions, the network has 54 members. Seventy percent are leaders of color, and 55 percent are women.

About Chiefs for Change

Chiefs for Change is a bipartisan network of diverse school superintendents and state education leaders. The network supports members and provides technical assistance; advocates for the adoption of effective policies and practices; and develops the next generation of bold, student-focused superintendents.