A new cohort of exceptional public education leaders has joined The Broad Academy, the nation’s most prominent professional development program for urban school system leaders. In addition, former District of Columbia Public Schools chancellor Kaya Henderson has been named a superintendent in residence of The Broad Center, joining a cadre of celebrated former system leaders who support and coach the Center’s network members, including these new Broad Academy fellows.
The Broad Academy prepares passionate, proven leaders who are committed to ensuring America’s urban public school systems work well for all of the families they serve. In 2012, the program was revamped, expanding its scope and nearly doubling in length, placing greater emphasis on leadership and helping school-system leaders grow high-performing organizations that work with the communities they serve to drive the twin goals of excellence and equity for all students. The 12 new Academy fellows hail from all corners of the United States, including aspiring urban superintendents as well as leaders already running school systems who are working to develop their organizations and increase their impact.
- Collaborating with parents, community members, educators and school partners, the Tennessee Achievement School District fights for justice for students in the state’s “priority” schools, the lowest performing in the state. ASD superintendent Malika Anderson galvanizes support and local coordination of city-level actions in Memphis, Nashville and Chattanooga to close long persistent opportunity gaps and accelerate academic growth and achievement, success-affirming disciplinary practices and equitable access to post-secondary opportunities. Now, students in Tennessee’s priority schools improve four times faster than their peers across the state.
- As superintendent in Brevard County, Florida, Desmond Blackburn has worked to increase teacher morale, build public confidence and create effective central-office support for schools. Since taking the helm, he has eliminated nearly 200 mandatory district tests and negotiated the biggest teacher-pay increase in seven years. In addition, he standardized response to employee misconduct and excised central-office departments known for gaps in service to educators and families. The district’s 87.5 percent graduation rate is now a five-year high and among the top 10 in the state.
- Kara Bobroff is uniquely positioned to improve public education opportunities for Native American students. A Navajo/Lakota woman and passionate, experienced educator, she focuses on providing academically excellent, culturally relevant schools that promote Native identities while readying students for college and career. As founding principal of Native American Community Academy and executive director of NACA Inspired Schools Network, the first public school network focused on growing indigenous education models, she advances best practices in community-led design, integrating culture and holistic wellness into the academic environment.
- Friendship Public Charter School chief executive officer Patricia Brantley is driven by the belief that education can shape the life trajectory of every child. As Friendship’s chief operating officer, she helped expand capacity — academically, financially and operationally — enabling the network to steadily increase enrollment and academic results. Now as CEO, Patricia is strengthening Friendship’s pipeline to higher education. Inspired by their more than 2,000 college-educated alumni, her passion for children compels her to continually ask, “What more must we do to empower our scholars?”
- As assistant state superintendent of the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction, Sheila Briggs works on behalf of all students. To renew focus on early childhood education, she secured $32 million in federal funds. Under her leadership, educators also get more support through a teacher-designed educator effectiveness system, and student-driven academic and career planning helps meet every young person’s needs. These changes have helped improve Wisconsin’s rank on the national assessment from 20th to eighth in eighth-grade reading and 14th to sixth in eighth-grade mathematics.
- Serving more than 41,000 students and 5,000 employees, Manny Caulk — a lifelong educator and superintendent of Kentucky’s Fayette County Public Schools — has joined forces with students, families and the Lexington community to end longstanding disparities and transform the school system into a national model. By providing increased support to low-performing schools, growing new and early-career teachers and increasing resources and tools to accelerate outcomes for traditionally underserved students, Manny and his team are aiming all of Fayette County’s young people toward success.
- Mark DiBella, chief executive officer of YES Prep Public Schools, has a long-term vision to ensure every child in Houston has equitable access to a college-preparatory education. YES Prep is already widely recognized as one of the nation’s highest performing charter school networks. But Mark is setting his sights even higher, working to double the number of students they serve and quadruple the number of college-ready graduates — most of whom will be the first in their families to attend college — all by 2020.
- Indianapolis Public Schools was once designated a failing district. Now, it is on the rise. Under superintendent Lewis Ferebee’s leadership, IPS is more agile and more capable of responding quickly to each school’s specific needs. In addition to supporting turnaround efforts for low-performing campuses, the district offers innovation and autonomous schools additional flexibilities in organizing school-level resources for maximum benefit to students. And the efforts are paying off: In Lewis’ first three years at the helm, graduation rates increased by nine percentage points.
- Sara Heyburn Morrison, executive director of the Tennessee State Board of Education, brings a teacher’s voice and unequivocal student-centered lens to state policy decisions with tangible results. During her six years as a state leader, Sara has led several of the state’s nationally lauded transformation efforts in K-12 education. Notable among them are a statewide multiple-measure teacher and principal evaluation and support system, an unprecedented review and revision of the Common Core State Standards and an outcomes-based approval and reporting framework for teacher preparation programs.
- As chief academic officer of the fourth-largest school district in America, Marie Izquierdo firmly believes all students deserve a world-class education. During her tenure in Miami-Dade County Public Schools, graduation rates have reached an unprecedented 80.4 percent, outperforming state averages for Black and Hispanic students. In addition, access to accelerated coursework significantly increased and the district earned 96 National Magnet Merit awards from Magnet Schools of America. In 2016, Marie was named one of the Center for Digital Education’s Top 30 technologists, transformers and trailblazers.
- Jamar McKneely, co-founder and chief executive officer of InspireNOLA Charter Schools, believes that all children — regardless of background — have the right to a high-quality public education, and it is our responsibility to provide that education by any means necessary. A former teacher and principal, Jamar manages the highest-performing charter school network in New Orleans, which develops students’ academic and interpersonal skills to prepare them for college, careers and social responsibility. Through this mission, InspireNOLA is growing the next leaders in New Orleans and our nation.
- Anupam Mishra understands how to drive innovation and excellence for social impact. As managing director of Hellman & Friedman, he invested in and coached organizations from good to great, streamlining operations and developing high-performance, people-driven cultures. Under his leadership, companies like Ellucian and Renaissance Learning launched pioneering software tools to support educators and students in more than 2,400 universities and 40,000 K-12 schools, respectively. Coupling this experience with long-standing service to education nonprofits, Anupam is now fully dedicated to growing world-class public school opportunities for low-income students.
These fellows will be supported by The Broad Center’s superintendents in residence, and joining that group of distinguished educators is former Washington, D.C., schools chancellor Kaya Henderson. She becomes part of a team of former big-city and statewide system leaders — including Chris Barbic, John Deasy, Lillian Lowery and John Simpson — who also serve in this capacity, participating in professional development sessions for The Broad Academy and The Broad Residency in Urban Education. In addition, the superintendents in residence provide mentoring and executive coaching to Broad Center network members who are in leadership roles in urban public school systems.
Henderson was chancellor of the District of Columbia Public Schools for six years, helping redirect one of the nation’s most embattled school districts into the fastest performing urban system in the country. She led the district to consecutive years of student achievement and enrollment growth, expanded academic and extracurricular offerings, record-level graduation rates and significant improvements in student satisfaction and teacher retention.
Henderson started at DCPS as deputy chancellor, overseeing the district’s human resources and human capital work. She began her career as a Spanish teacher in The Bronx, N.Y., and spent more than a decade serving educators in leadership roles at Teach for America and TNTP.
“Our superintendents in residence and Academy fellows all share two things: a deep commitment to doing what is right for students and the belief in what is possible when school systems are organized to educate all students to high levels,” said Becca Bracy Knight, executive director of The Broad Center. “We are grateful for the opportunity to draw on the experience and expertise of Kaya Henderson as we help support the next generation of groundbreaking urban system leaders.”