“We believe there’s untapped innovation in our schools,” says Kenneth Zeff, Chief Strategy and Innovation at Fulton County Schools in Atlanta, Georgia. “The central office is not in charge of innovation; innovation happens at the school house. The role of our office is not to create innovation but create an environment that fosters innovation. We have 14,000 employees and believe they’re engines of innovation.”

Fulton is a new charter school system, which allows each school and the system to get away from one-size-fits-all regulations. “It is a model of how innovation can flourish,” says Zeff. “The Charter System removes a barrier...

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