The 14 senior public education leaders who compose the inaugural cohort of the Fellowship for Public Education Leadership (The Broad Fellowship) returned to New Haven on March 21 for the fellowship’s final module, a week of classes, workshops, and discussions with SOM faculty, practitioner leaders, and peers. The Fellows, who come from school systems across the U.S., received program certificates on March 25.
The program’s fourth module focused on managing resources and sustaining impact. Yale SOM faculty, including Professors Amy Wrzesniewski, Thomas Steffen, and Kate Cooney, presented their research and teaching in sessions on a range of topics, including attracting and retaining talent; balancing key components of management control systems; and planning for declining enrollment in urban school districts. The week culminated in a conversation between William Hite, first superintendent in residence and executive fellow at The Broad Center at Yale SOM and current superintendent of the School District of Philadelphia, and District of Columbia State Superintendent of Education Christina Grant about sustainable, mission-driven leadership and forging lasting impact in public schools.
Fellow Antonio Burt, CEO of KIPP Memphis Public Schools in Memphis, Tennessee, said that the final module served as a fitting capstone to the fellowship, reinforcing the management principles and skills taught over 10 months. Discussions about job crafting and intentional financing “further solidified the importance of understanding finances in relation to hiring, establishing the types of managerial controls, and retaining highly skilled personnel amidst national shortages,” he said.
Fellow Rosanna Mucetti, superintendent of the Napa Valley Unified School District in California, said that the final module drove home to her the role of smart and transparent resource allocation in promoting equity in education: “The learning affirmed for me that the strategic use of our resources for our students is a non-negotiable in public education, and an important dimension of strategic resource allocation is communicating clearly and transparently to our stakeholders about our financial decisions. Stakeholders must understand the ‘why’ behind our financial decisions. They must understand the tradeoffs and the intended impact of our investments on educational outcomes for children. Ultimately, we need to see a return on our investment by demonstrating how our decisions improve learning and achievement for our students.”
This year, the Fellows have experienced a mix of in-person and virtual programs that focused on four themes: Leading Self, Leading Teams, Leading the Organization; Navigation; Managing Resources; and Sustaining Impact. Each of the week-long modules featured Yale SOM faculty teaching and expertise, as well as practitioner panels and conversations with superintendents and senior K-12 leaders. Fellows also presented their own leadership stories throughout the program and presented problems of practice through structured consultancies.
The importance of transparency and authenticity in public education leadership is something Mucetti says echoed throughout the fellowship experience: “My biggest takeaway from the program is the value of systems thinking coupled with the need for authentic leadership. The program reminded me of the importance of authenticity and vulnerability when it comes to leadership. Often, as superintendents or CEOs, we feel that we have to exude unwavering, superhuman strength at all times. Through the program’s signature practice of Fellows sharing leadership stories and the reflection tools embedded throughout the Fellowship, we affirmed that knowing leaders’ authentic stories of struggle and resilience actually fosters trust, confidence, and, most importantly, connection. Organizations and communities follow leaders they can trust and connect with.”
Deena Bishop, superintendent of the Anchorage School District in Anchorage, Alaska, said the Fellowship reinvigorated her commitment to public education leadership: “The Fellowship challenged me, changed me, and connected me even more to the mission of education and with other leaders willing to serve. I learned from the best to better serve others.”
The Broad Fellowship is a tuition-free executive leadership program for senior-level public education leaders, including superintendents and CEOs of public charter networks, from across the country who are dedicated to strengthening public school systems and the communities they serve. The Broad Center at Yale SOM is proud to acknowledge the inaugural class of Broad Fellows in the 2021-22 cohort:
Superintendent, Anchorage School District , Alaska
Chief of High Schools, Orange County Public Schools, Florida
Chief Executive Officer, KIPP Memphis Public Schools, Tennessee
Superintendent, Glendale Unified School District, California
Deputy Chancellor, District of Columbia Public Schools, Washington, D.C.
M. Ann Levett
Superintendent, Savannah-Chatham County Public Schools, Georgia
Superintendent, Napa Valley Unified School District, California
President, KIPP Foundation, Georgia
Superintendent, Joliet Public Schools District 86, Illinois
Superintendent of Schools, Los Fresnos Consolidated ISD, Texas
Co-Founder and Chief Executive Officer, Ednovate, California
Chief Academic Officer, InspireNOLA Charter Schools, Louisiana
Chief Schools Officer, Uncommon Schools, New York
Superintendent, Salem Public Schools, Massachusetts