Bringing our history to light can improve our students’ futures

In November 2021, the Institute for Education Innovation (IEI) held its Fall Superintendent Summit at The Greenbrier in White Sulphur Springs, W.V.–one of the most stunning resorts in the U.S.

But as with many of the nation’s iconic landmarks, from The White House to Harvard University, the legacy of The Greenbrier is directly tied to the greatest stain on our nation’s legacy: the enslavement of Black people. During the Summit, we invited Toni Ogden and Janice Cooley of the Greenbrier County Historical Society to provide a historical context of our surroundings.

The original resort was built in 1858 largely by enslaved people, and as late as 1910, when the Chesapeake & Ohio Railway acquired the property, the company continued to exploit Black workers. African American staff members were expected to cater to the whims of white guests in the style of the old plantations before returning home to overwhelming poverty.…Read More

How Are Some Leaders Able to Connect With Their Communities, Followers, and Stakeholders in Ways That Others Struggle?

March 23, 2022 – Even with the deluge of leadership books on the market, a superintendent of a large school district and his colleague, the head of a prominent PR firm, still struggled to find a book that spoke to them. So they wrote one themselves. Dr. Quintin Shepherd and co-writer Sarah Williamson use their combined decades of experience in the education and corporate spheres to create a unique model for leadership that is anchored by compassion and a powerful new language. The Secret to Transformational Leadership presents the personal journeys of such professionals as a pediatric cancer specialist, a president of an innovative nonprofit, and a former investment banker who became an online entrepreneur.

The authors use their experiences to illustrate how we are at a precipice for real change in the way we perceive and enact leadership. This book offers practical advice about how to adopt a new language of leadership. And if we can help others think differently, ultimately, we can create a ripple effect of empathy, compassion, kindness, and a sense of purpose for our life’s work.

DR. QUINTIN SHEPHERD, a true visionary for the future of education, is the Superintendent at Victoria Independent School District in Victoria, Texas.  SARAH WILLIAMSON of SWPR Group works with leaders in education to create thoughtful public relations programs that promote growth, build momentum, and enhance learners’ academic success and overall well-being.…Read More

School superintendents say navigating political divisions is their biggest challenge

Eighty percent of U.S. school superintendents say that navigating political divides over issues ranging from school closures to mask mandates to teaching about racism in schools is the most difficult part of their job. Nearly half say they are considering or planning to leave their job in the next two to three years.

These are among the findings in a new report, “2022 Voice of the Superintendent Survey,” released by education company EAB at the School Superintendent Association (AASA) National Conference on Education (#NCE2022).  

The results offer an important look at how education leaders are navigating an ongoing pandemic that is taxing administrators, classroom teachers, support staff, and stakeholders.…Read More

Happy habits: SEL matters more than ever

“My hope is these extra couple of days will allow everyone to take a little extra time for themselves and their families. Family is, after all, much of what Thanksgiving is all about.”

–Dr. Kelvin R. Adams, Superintendent of Schools, St. Louis Public Schools

Like St. Louis, school districts across the country opted to add an additional partial or entire week off during the holiday season/winter break to allow the students and adults to find time for and take care of themselves.…Read More

Addressing students’ pandemic ‘learning loss’

A new phrase as a result of the pandemic, “learning loss,” captures the concern that students’ learning has been compromised over the past year and a half. However, before the strategies for addressing the concern can be identified, it’s important to define and articulate what is meant by learning loss.   

The observation is true that many students aren’t at the same place in their subject mastery as similar pre-pandemic students. For example, in North Carolina, where I serve as a Superintendent, a recent report revealed that just 45 percent of public school students could pass state standardized tests, down from 59 percent two years earlier. (Testing was waived for the 2019-2020 school year).  

The question then for many is how do we help these students catch up? That question, however, assumes that the standard by which students were assessed two years earlier is the appropriate assessment tool for students today.  …Read More

ALAS Congratulates Alberto M. Carvalho on being named the Next Superintendent of the Los Angeles Unified School District

WASHINGTON, D.C. (Dec. 13, 2021) – The Association of Latino Administrators and Superintendents (ALAS) congratulates Alberto M. Carvalho on being named the next Superintendent of Schools of the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD).

Carvalho most recently was superintendent of Miami-Dade County Public Schools, has served as ALAS’ president and board member for Region 7 Southeast, and is the recipient of the 2021-22 ALAS National Humanitarian Award for his leadership and his stance in support of mandated masks for students despite political opposition.

Carvalho has served as the Superintendent of Miami-Dade County Public Schools (M-DCPS), the fourth largest school district in the country, since 2008 and is recognized by his peers as a national voice for equity in education.…Read More

The Association of Latino Administrators and Superintendents (ALAS) Announces New Regional Directors

WASHINGTON, D.C. (Nov. 30, 2021) – The Association of Latino Administrators and Superintendents (ALAS) has elected Pedro Rivera and Dr. Frank Rodriguez to its Board of Directors. Rivera, who is the former Pennsylvania Secretary of Education and currently serves as president of Thaddeus Stevens College of Technology in Pennsylvania, was named the Director of Region 6 Northeast. Rodriguez, who is superintendent of the Beaufort County School District in South Carolina, was named director of Region 7 Southeast.

ALAS announced the appointments during the ALAS 18th Annual National Summit in October. As regional directors, Rivera and Rodriguez will support the work being done by the ALAS State Affiliates in their respective regions. Region 6 Northeast includes the Washington DC area, New York, and Pennsylvania. Region 7 Southeast includes Florida, Georgia and Tennessee.

“Our regional directors are an incredible resource for school and district leaders in their regions,” said ALAS Executive Director Dr. Maria Armstrong. “President Rivera and Dr. Rodriguez understand the education issues that impact the Latino community and have long histories of educational leadership. We look forward to their support of our state affiliates and the Latino-serving leaders in these regions.”…Read More

3 superintendents share their COVID “a-ha!” moments

When the COVID-19 pandemic closed physical classrooms, schools had mere days to get up and running online. And not only did they have to meet students’ academic needs, they had to meet their social and emotional needs, too.

With a light at the end of the tunnel and plans to open in-person this fall, three superintendents are sharing lightbulb moments, what technology they’re using this fall, and what practices they would leave behind if able.

Hosted by Carl hooker, panelists are Seth Feldman, EDD, JD, superintendent of Bay Area Technology School; Scott M. Borba, superintendent of Le Grand Union Elementary School District; and Janice Pavelonis, incoming superintendent of Carbondale Elementary School District 95.…Read More

Onwards and upwards: How one district not only survived, but thrived, through the pandemic

Every district obviously had struggles during this past year. But for Chattahoochee County School District, a small, rural community in Southwest Georgia, it was also a time to automate and accelerate.

In this episode of Innovations in Education, Superintendent Kristie Brooks, Ed.D., describes how they were able to grow their student body, provide improved personal and professional development, and change some pre-pandemic practices like attendance for the better.

This conversation has been edited for clarity.…Read More

Professional development should remain a pandemic priority

For Diane Lauer, Assistant Superintendent of Priority Programs and Academic Support at St. Vrain Valley Schools in Colorado, COVID couldn’t stop teacher training. In fact, her work became that much more important.

In this conversation with eSchool News, Diane breaks down her strategies for keeping faculty on point with technology and instruction. [Edited for clarity.]

eSN: Before the pandemic struck, would it be fair to say there was a general resistance amongst some teachers, who would be skeptical of various aspects of professional development? How have remote setups changed the way you teach those teachers?…Read More