A group of senior public education leaders have been selected for the inaugural cohort of the Fellowship for Public Education Leadership, a 10-month leadership development program at The Broad Center at Yale SOM.
The tuition-free program will gather superintendents, chief executive officers, and cabinet-level leaders from urban public school districts, charter school networks, and state-level education agencies for four weeklong sessions starting in June 2021. Through interactive learning sessions with Yale SOM faculty and discussion with education practitioners, they’ll build networks and develop management and leadership skills for immediate application in their home districts, with the goal of advancing equity in educational outcomes for all students.
The inaugural fellows are from 11 states and the District of Columbia; they are leaders in traditional public school districts, at a state education agency, and at public charter school networks, with tenures ranging from a year to more than a decade in their current roles. About three quarters of the fellows identify as people of color.
The Fellowship for Public Education Leadership is the successor program to The Broad Academy at the previously independent Broad Center in Los Angeles.
The fellows met as a group for the first time in a virtual session earlier this month. “We here at SOM could not be more impressed and indeed awed by the work you’re doing in this uncertain time,” Dean Kerwin K. Charles told them. “This is a hugely important moment for new thinking, fresh action, and imagination in the spheres of public education and inequality.”
Charles acknowledged that the fellows would be taking time away from their leadership roles to participate, starting in 2021. “You have important work you could be doing. Why are you joining us on this adventure?” he asked. “Your participation in TBC at SOM is informed by a desire to be exposed to and better understand best practices and policies and insights from research, to share ideas with people similarly situated in the education landscape.”
The school takes that responsibility seriously, he added. “We have made, at SOM, an implicit agreement with you that we will seek to expose you to the best things we know in our space; to bring to your attention what we know about practices, ideas, research—both quantitative and qualitative insights. That’s our promise to you.”
This article was posted on October 7, 2020, and updated on November 11, 2020.
Meet the Fellows
Biographies were provided by the fellows.
Superintendent, Anchorage School District, Alaska
As superintendent of Alaska’s largest school district, Dr. Deena Bishop uses data to influence educational decisions to improve student outcomes and prepare all students for success in life. Through her innovative leadership and focus on equity for students of Anchorage School District’s highly diverse student population, Dr. Bishop has expanded early literacy and choice programs, including establishment of the nation’s first indigenous immersion program and a middle college school.
Chief of High Schools, Orange County Public Schools, Florida
As Orange County Public Schools’ Chief of High Schools for the 8th largest district in the nation, Harold Border is a member of the Superintendent’s Executive Cabinet and committed to ensuring the approximately 212,000 students have access to high quality instruction so they graduate career and college ready. By leveraging collaborative leadership with school leaders in K-12 settings and across academics, facilities, finances, human resources, and operations, Dr. Border's teams have achieved an all-time high graduation rate at 96.5%, constantly and exponentially improved career readiness outcomes, and further narrowed achievement opportunities across its talented tapestry of students.
Chief Academic Officer, Shelby County Schools, Tennessee
As the Chief Academic Officer for Shelby County Schools, Antonio Burt has intensified the district’s focus on equity, early literacy, college readiness, and teacher/leader effectiveness. These efforts have led to policies to improve foundational skills instruction, district-led ACT workshops, expanded AP course offerings, universal screening for gifted programs, differentiated professional development, college/career platform tracking, and elimination of the digital divide.
Superintendent, Glendale Unified School District, California
A firm believer in empowering students to lead us next and the unparalleled power of education to transform lives, Vivian Ekchian, Superintendent of Glendale Unified School District, remains committed to providing a world-class, globally competitive education to all students in order to ensure they are college, career, and life ready. Vivian has been recognized for her keen ability to accelerate student outcomes by generating innovative solutions, closing opportunity gaps, addressing challenges head-on, and elevating student voice.
Chief Strategy and Financial Officer, KIPP Texas Public Schools
Jaideep Hebbar catalyzes resource-aligned strategies that support both near-term college readiness and a longer-term vision of fulfilling lives and a more just world for over 30,000 students across Texas. As Chief Strategy and Financial Officer at KIPP Texas, he designed a plan to distribute over $4 million of funds to families impacted by Hurricane Harvey, led many aspects of integration in the system's recent 4-region merger, and built KIPP Texas’ long-term strategic plan. In his current role, Jaideep often leverages his past perspective as an education program officer, charter school board member, and private equity investor.
Superintendent, Community Unit School District 300, Illinois
Mr. Heid is Superintendent of District 300 in Algonquin, Illinois, serving over 20,000 students. As Superintendent, Mr. Heid led the establishment of a Five-Year Strategic Plan focused on achieving the district’s central mission: to ensure all students are college and career ready upon graduation, implemented a new organizational chart to maximize productivity, expanded tuition-free full-day kindergarten district-wide, organized one of the largest 1:1 computing device programs in Illinois, developed Pathways Programs offering high school students opportunities to earn industry credentials and college credit before graduation, developed the first accelerated college program allowing students to earn their Associates degrees tuition-free, and established the DREAM program to offer comprehensive wrap-around services using a Cognitive-Behavioral Model approach to students impacted by Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACE's).
Yale SOM Class of 2006
President, KIPP NYC
Alicia is the president of KIPP NYC, one of the highest performing regions of KIPP Public Schools, which is the largest charter school network in the country. She is leading the New York City region through a 70% expansion of its footprint, while also supporting continued growth in its student outcomes and operational excellence. Previously to leading the region, Alicia started at the KIPP Through College program , where she helped to lead the increase of the organization’s college graduation rate to 46%, 4X the rate for low-income students nationally—and the network’s efforts are now focused on ensuring that all students are ready for careers, regardless of their college choices.
Superintendent, Hamilton County Schools, Tennessee
Dr. Bryan Johnson is a servant leader who believes in providing opportunities for success for children as he begins his fourth year as a superintendent and the leader of Hamilton County Schools, where he has moved achievement in the district from the #130 district in Tennessee for student academic growth to the #2 district and the fastest improving school district in the state. The success of Hamilton County Schools has led to Johnson’s selection to Education Week’s 2020 list of Leaders To Learn From in February, one of 25 Superintendents to Watch from across the country by the National School Public Relations Association in early September, and he was recently announced as the Tennessee Superintendent of the Year for 2021.
Deputy Chancellor, District of Columbia Public Schools, Washington, D.C.
As Deputy Chancellor of DC Public Schools, Melissa Kim is leading the District’s effort to build a system of schools that centers on continuously improving the learning experience of all students. She can often be heard saying, “people power this work” and is cultivating a teaching and learning environment where DCPS educators are both content and human development experts who support the academic and social emotional development of children. Her vision is grounded in the belief that advancing racial equity is paramount to ensuring students achieve at the highest levels.
M. Ann Levett
Superintendent, Savannah-Chatham County Public Schools, Georgia
Dr. M. Ann Levett was appointed Superintendent of Savannah-Chatham County Public Schools effective June 2017. Dr. Levett is a lifelong educator with experience at every level in K-12 education and higher education, including service as a public-school district board of education member, researcher, Dean of a School of Education, and an educational technology service center director. Dr. Levett has instituted several successful and innovative approaches to public education throughout her career that led to improved student achievement by advancing educational equity for all students and committing to transformation for the most disadvantaged students.
Superintendent, Napa Valley Unified School District, California
As the superintendent of the Napa Valley Unified School District, Dr. Rosanna Mucetti has led systemic reforms and large-scale organizational improvements anchored in a comprehensive, equity focused strategic action plan that is closing the opportunity gap for historically marginalized students. Under her leadership, the district has attained fiscal stabilization, eliminated the digital divide, increased access to college readiness activities, launched literacy efforts, and integrated a comprehensive assessment system focused on tracking student progress and programmatic impact.
Executive Director, KIPP Metro Atlanta, Georgia
Incoming President, KIPP Foundation (2021)
Driven by the belief that education has the power to be the true equalizer in our country, Kinnari Patel-Smyth, Executive Director of KIPP Metro Atlanta Schools, has led the organization’s growth to serve over 5,000 students across 11 schools and will reach 7,000 students in the next few years. Kinnari is deeply committed to creating a culture of continuous improvement and fosters a sense of belonging for all community members. In 2021, Kinnari will join the KIPP Foundation leadership team as President.
Superintendent, Joliet Public Schools District 86, Illinois
As Superintendent of Joliet Public Schools District 86, Dr. Theresa Rouse has focused the work of the district on equity and cultural proficiency in order to close the equity gap for all students which leads to a closing of the achievement gap through a focus on literacy for all students. Her emphasis on the whole child is also evident in the continued support and expansion of the fine arts program to include music and art for all students as a compliment to the robust instrumental (orchestra and band) and vocal music programs at the Junior High level.
Superintendent of Schools, Los Fresnos Consolidated ISD, Texas
As superintendent of the Los Fresnos Consolidated Independent School District throughout the past 15 years, Gonzalo Salazar has worked alongside a team of passionate educators to deliver a quality educational experience for all students. With an emphasis on servant leadership, and a clear understanding of what is at stake, he has sustained a laser-like focus on student performance, prescriptive instruction and continuous improvement in a district serving predominantly Hispanic students of low-socioeconomic backgrounds.
Co-founder and Chief Executive Officer, Ednovate, California
With extensive experience in public high school education, Oliver continues to reimagine the high school report card through his work as Chief Executive Officer of Ednovate, a network of high schools in Southern California partnering with USC to push both nationwide secondary education practice and policy.
Associate Commissioner, Texas Education Agency
As Associate Commissioner at the Texas Education Agency, Joe Siedlecki oversees school system support, innovation and the largest charter school portfolio in the nation. He has supported districts to significantly decrease the number of failing schools, overseen the creation of more than 100 new district schools, grown high performing charter schools at record rates, and closed low performing charter schools.
Chief Academic Officer, InspireNOLA Charter Schools, Louisiana
Maintaining a relentless focus on educational equity and access for each student so that they may succeed in college, careers and beyond, Dr. Wylene Sorapuru, Chief Academic Officer for InspireNOLA Charter Schools, has designed a system-wide plan to improve schools deemed as “failing” by the Louisiana Department of Education Standards to increase by two letter grades in one academic year. InspireNOLA is the highest performing Charter Management Organization in New Orleans and has obtained graduation rates that consistently outperform state and national trends. The pillars of focus within the plan include rigorous curriculum, inspirational culture, 21st-century student experiences, and highly proficient school leadership & teacher development.
Chief Schools Officer, Uncommon Schools, New York
Juliana Worrell is the chief schools officer for Uncommon Schools. Through a laser-like focus on leadership development and high-quality instruction, her schools have consistently outperformed end-of-year state exam averages, with more than half outperforming their respective states’ highest performing subgroups. Juliana is also deeply passionate about strengthening diversity, equity, and inclusion initiatives across Uncommon, increasing the number of teachers and leaders of color, strengthening culturally responsive teaching practices, and working to advance Uncommon’s commitment to being an increasingly anti-racist organization that continues to advance social justice.
Superintendent, Salem Public Schools, Massachusetts
As the proud new superintendent of the Salem Public Schools, Steve Zrike is committed to building a culture of excellence focused on providing students with cognitively demanding and engaging lessons, creating strong systems for social and emotional support in all schools and above all, dismantling districtwide structures that perpetuate inequities. Previously, Steve served five years as the Receiver of Schools in Holyoke where they increased the graduation rate by more than 20%, decreased the dropout rate by more than 50%, more than doubled prekindergarten enrollment and oversaw a fourfold increase in early college/dual enrollment participation for students.