Robert Runcie is a chief in residence at Chiefs for Change. He provides coaching, advising, and thought partnership to fellow members of our network and participants in our Future Chiefs leadership development program.

As the former superintendent of Broward County Public Schools, he led the nation’s sixth-largest district, with more than 260,000 students and 35,000 employees, and oversaw an annual budget of $4 billion. Runcie has blended his two decades of private sector technology, management consulting, and entrepreneurship experience with 18 years of leadership in urban public schools to deliver innovation, organizational and systems change, and improved student outcomes. He is nationally recognized for his expertise in communications, technology and innovation, crisis management, enterprise risk management, and for building effective leadership teams.

During his decade as the chief executive of Broward County Public Schools:

  • High school graduation rates increased by 18 percent to a historic high of almost 90 percent.
  • Achievement gaps closed as all groups improved on state and national assessments.
  • The district dramatically improved equity and access to learning experiences for all students. The speech and debate program grew to become the largest in the nation; computer science expanded from less than a thousand to more than 50,000 engaged students; the district’s technical colleges doubled its locations, and Broward consistently led the state in industry certifications earned. In addition, mental health services and supports became available to all students as the number of school social workers doubled and other mental health professionals’ positions increased. The district became a national model for addressing disparities and disproportionality in student discipline, and it received national recognition for its county-wide focus on early literacy programs and outcomes.
  • Collective bargaining agreements with pay increases for teachers and non-instructional staff were approved and ratified annually by all bargaining units.
  • Runcie introduced performance management and process redesign as a strategic discipline for all departments and schools.
  • The district implemented numerous operational and financial improvements. It restructured debt to realize more than $70 million in savings; provided sound financial management resulting in an improved bond rating and netting more than $100 million in premium paid for bond issuances; and changed the health care management model to secure $35 million of recurring savings. In addition, the district restructured and improved transportation services while reducing operating costs and initiated a supplier diversity study, which drove procurement policy changes to increase minority, women-owned, and small business participation in district contracts.

Runcie has been recognized as Superintendent of the Year by Florida Association of District School Superintendents; National Alliance of Black School Educators; Association of Latino Administrators and Superintendents; and Florida Consortium of Public Charter Schools.

He serves on boards for several other national and local organizations, including United Way of Broward County, Urban League of Broward County,, and National Education Equity Lab.

Runcie knows first-hand how a high-quality education can transform a person’s life. Born in Jamaica, he moved to the United States as a young boy and became the first in his family to finish high school and graduate from college, earning his bachelor’s from Harvard College and his MBA from Northwestern University. He later founded a management and technology consulting company and held several strategic leadership positions with Chicago Public Schools.