Thirty emerging public education leaders from across the United States convened in New Haven in July for a week of rigorous coursework, opportunities to engage with leading practitioners in the field, and a chance to share their professional experiences and challenges with one another as students in the inaugural cohort of The Broad Center at Yale SOM’s Master’s in Public Education Management Program.
This was the first of five residence weeks for the 14-month program, which aims to equip leaders from large, urban K-12 school districts, charter management organizations, and state education agencies with the tools they need to center equity and excellence and make sustainable, measurable impact in their school systems. Master’s students continue to work full-time while completing the degree.
For Zabrina Evans ’23, director of school quality and support for Chicago Public Schools, the residence week proved invigorating, as well as a welcome reminder of why she chose the education field: “I needed this time to connect, hear leadership stories, and regroup on my life’s purpose because the work is challenging every day… It refueled my fire to continue pushing and advocating for the black and brown kids within my portfolio of schools.”
During the residency, the students took courses including Managing Groups and Teams, Descriptive Statistics, Managerial Decision Making, and Inequality, Systems, and Society as well as a colloquia course titled Reflection and Connection. Heidi Brooks, a longtime senior lecturer in organizational behavior, taught her course Everyday Leadership.
“There’s nothing like teaching Broad in my experience,” said Brooks. “The students are the best of the best—and because they have a deep commitment to the business of learning, they are like sponges who reciprocate… This is teaching at its best: rewarding, high-caliber learning with real impact.”
Each day of the residency began and ended with a Leadership Story, a Broad tradition in which individuals share their personal experiences with the group in an intimate setting.
“I love the level of vulnerability that the Leadership Story encourages people to show,” said Shonterrio Harris, manager of equity advancement for Indianapolis Public Schools in Indiana of the practice. “Learning about my colleagues’ journeys was really inspiring and being able to share my own was powerful for me.”
Jesse Melgares, vice president of teaching and learning for Alliance College-Ready Public Schools in Los Angeles, said that he also valued the opportunity to connect with other leaders facing similar challenges. Already, the cohort is developing into a supportive community upon which each member will be able to lean and depend in their full-time roles, he said. “This level of connection is important for me to be able to thrive in my role.”
The Broad Master’s is the newest degree program at SOM and it exemplifies the school’s commitment to leadership for business and society, said Hanseul Kang, assistant dean and the Anita and Joshua Bekenstein ’80 B.A. Executive Director for The Broad Center at Yale SOM. “It feels more important than ever for emerging education leaders to have the management and leadership tools they need to help advance excellence and equity in all of our K-12 public school systems. We know there is no one right answer to the challenges urban school systems face—instead, we hope our Master’s students will be able to use the new ideas, tools, and frameworks they learn in the classroom while also engaging in deep thinking and building community by pushing one another. We are thrilled to see our inaugural cohort is already asking the hard questions, building a network, and becoming a part of the Broad and Yale SOM communities.”