Chiefs for Change is committed to building the pipeline of talented, diverse K-12 leaders. Our leadership development programs include Future Chiefs, which is for individuals who are ready to take the next step in their career and become a superintendent or state education commissioner, and Rising Stars, which is for educators who have recently joined a K-12 system cabinet or are on the cusp of doing so. In addition, the network’s Women in Leadership initiative provides programming specifically for our women chiefs and Future Chiefs. See below to learn more about all three efforts.

Future Chiefs

Future Chiefs are individuals who are ready to take the next step in their career and become a superintendent or state education commissioner. They participate in an 18-month program of collective learning about issues that are central to effective leadership and receive coaching and mentorship from Chiefs for Change members.

Individuals who are interested in being a part of the program and those who wish to nominate someone else to participate are invited to follow the link below.

When Future Chiefs become chiefs, they have the opportunity to work with our experienced chiefs in residence, resident advisors, coaches, and other trusted partners.

Diversity, equity, and inclusion are core aspects of the Future Chiefs program. In addition to being politically and geographically diverse, 78 percent of those in the most recent cohort are leaders of color, and 67 percent are women. Of the 59 leaders who made up the first seven cohorts of the program, 56 percent have become superintendents or state chiefs.

Over the course of the program, Future Chiefs benefit from learning experiences that include:

Quarterly in-person and virtual peer-to-peer sessions with the cohort.

Individualized monthly coaching from former district and state chiefs.

Shadowing current Chiefs for Change members.

Training in public speaking, media preparation, and board relations.

Consultancies to work through problems of practice with Chiefs for Change members and partners.

Access to the Chiefs for Change network of members and partners.

Support in search and placement for chief roles, including portfolio building and transition support.

Women in Leadership programming designed specifically for female Future Chiefs.

Praise for the Future Chiefs Program

Cultivating the next generation of state and local education leaders is critical to ensuring that all students have the opportunities they deserve. Chiefs for Change’s Future Chiefs program will help better prepare a diverse group to step up and lead schools, districts, and states so that we continue to improve both equity and excellence for students.

John B. King, Jr
Former U.S. Secretary of Education

It’s inspiring to see these up-and-coming education leaders taking the next step in their development. Their intelligence, drive, and ability tell me that our public school systems will be in good hands for years to come. I congratulate them and thank Chiefs for Change for developing this mentorship program.

Arne Duncan
Former U.S. Secretary of Education

America’s students and teachers deserve the best. By supporting the growth of Future Chiefs, we can increase the pool of diverse, mission-driven, and exceptionally talented system leaders. I am excited to play a role in mentoring these Future Chiefs and launching such an important effort for the country.

Deborah A. Gist
Superintendent of Tulsa Public Schools

Women in Leadership

The Chiefs for Change Women in Leadership initiative offers programming specifically for women who are current chiefs or members of our Future Chiefs leadership development program. Chief in Residence Barbara Jenkins, the former superintendent of Orange County Public Schools in Florida, supports the initiative for the network.

“I have mentored phenomenal women and men leaders,” Dr. Jenkins said. “Women who are equally capable often still do not receive equal pay or equal respect. I’m proud that Chiefs for Change offers programming specifically for women in leadership. My goal is to ensure that our women chiefs continue to have a strong peer network of support and the opportunity to learn from those who know the role.”

Women in Leadership was established in 2018, when women across the network asked for a forum that would allow them to talk with their female peers, specifically, about their approach to the work and how to manage difficult aspects of the superintendency.

Rising Stars

Rising Stars is a leadership development initiative for educators who have recently joined a K-12 system cabinet or are on the cusp of doing so. Each Rising Stars learning community includes 10 to 20 such individuals who share the core beliefs of Chiefs for Change and were nominated to participate by members of our network. Learning communities are diverse in terms of race, gender, and political views. Through the initiative, Rising Stars engage in a year of collective learning and receive monthly one-on-one coaching from an experienced member of Chiefs for Change.

The initiative is designed to help participants maximize their impact in their current leadership role. It also introduces them to potential pathways for becoming a district superintendent or state education leader.

Over the course of the 12-month program, Rising Stars will benefit from learning experiences that include:

Individualized monthly coaching from a Chiefs for Change member.

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.

Cabinet members in K-12 systems are responsible for making decisions that significantly impact students and schools. By investing in talented educators who show strong leadership potential, Chiefs for Change aims to ensure that senior leaders can advance their work in ways that make a meaningful difference for children.