Chiefs for Change is committed to putting children first through bold, visionary education reform that will increase student achievement and prepare students for success in college and careers.



Chiefs for Change is a bipartisan coalition of current and former state education chiefs who believe that American public education can be dramatically improved and share an urgency to achieve that goal. Together, they provide a strong voice for bold reform on the national, state and local level.

Chiefs for Change offers a network of state education leaders with experience in successful reform who continue to advance proven policies for the betterment of education. The coalition formed by five state education chiefs in November 2010, today represents a number of ethnically- and geographically-diverse states. The Chiefs question the status quo every day and work tirelessly to bring about change to benefit all students. By talking regularly and challenging each other’s work, Chiefs for Change members provide each other much needed reflection on the policies and actions that matter most.

By placing the interest of children above the well-being of its members, Chiefs for Change has taken on the entrenched practices that have long held back our education system – practices that have favored adults, instead of students.

Guiding Principles Download PDF

Recruit, Reward and Retain Excellent Teachers and Leaders

  • We need a new compensation and support system that meets the modern-day needs of hiring, retaining and rewarding effective teachers and leaders for all students regardless of zip code.
  • Highly effective teachers and leaders must be recognized, rewarded and supported based on their performance rather than certification or credentials.
  • Teachers and leaders must be evaluated primarily based on student outcome data and growth with an emphasis on closing achievement gaps.
  • Ineffective teachers and principals must be removed.

Reward Excellence

  • Teachers, schools, and districts must be rewarded for increasing student achievement and closing achievement gaps.
  • As schools and districts meet academic targets and raise student achievement, they should earn flexibility and autonomy.

Replace Failure with Success

  • Intense interventions must be provided for chronically low-performing schools.
  • Failing schools cannot be permitted to shuffle along the road to improvement; schools must show demonstrable and sustained improvement or face closure.
  • School and district funding and governance are key leverage points to turnaround low-performing schools and districts.

High Academic Standards

  • High standards should be the norm for all students across the nation.
  • Standards should be benchmarked against international standards.
  • Expectations should be measured against the highest achieving students, states and countries while systematically raising the bar.
  • Graduation standards should ensure success in college and careers.

Transparent and Rigorous Accountability

  • All schools must be accountable for the academic progress of all students.
  • School accountability should measure student growth annually, ensure continuous improvement over time and focus attention on gap closing.
  • Academic assessments should be sophisticated, rigorous, effectively measure student achievement and provide useful and timely information to teachers and families.
  • School accountability should incorporate tiered interventions based on school performance and progress with students.
  • School accountability should disaggregate student achievement data and effectively use that data to inform real time instruction and interventions.
  • School rankings should categorize schools based on student outcomes and should recognize excellence.
  • School rankings and reports on student achievement should be transparent, clear and easily understood by parents and the public.

Viable Options for All Students

  • All students should have the opportunity to attend an excellent school.
  • Funding should follow the student and allow for parents to decide what is best for their child.
  • States should provide an expanded array of viable educational options for all students, including charter schools and digital learning opportunities.
  • Funding and other policy incentives should be provided for rigorous, strategic and aligned digital learning options, specifically those that allow for customized, accelerated, student-centered learning.

Team Members

Managing Director

Lydia Logan

Lydia is the Managing Director of Chiefs for Change at the Foundation for Excellence in Education. Before joining Chiefs for Change, Lydia served as the Senior Director of Policy at the Eli and Edythe Broad Foundation where she focused on national policy, Governor Snyder’s education initiatives in Michigan, and investments improving management, human capital, quality, and transparency across District and charter public schools in Washington, DC. Prior to The Broad Foundation, she held the position of Vice President and Executive Director of the Institute for a Competitive Workforce at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce where she worked with the business community on national and state policies and programs to improve early childhood, pre-k through post-secondary public education and workforce training. Lydia is a graduate of the University of Pennsylvania.

Senior Advisor

Eric Smith

Eric Smith served as Florida Commissioner of Education from 2007-2011. He began his career in Florida more than 30 years ago as a classroom teacher.  His commitment to affecting positive change in education led him to several administrative positions in Florida school districts and eventually to 16 years of serving as a district superintendent in Virginia, North Carolina, and Maryland.  Smith also served as Senior Vice President for College Readiness of the College Board and was responsible for leading the EXCELerator project.  He received an undergraduate degree from Colorado State University, a master’s degree from the University of Central Florida in Orlando and a doctorate from the University of Florida in Gainesville.

Director of Strategic Initiatives

Belinda Fisher

Belinda is the Director of Strategic Initiatives for the Foundation for Excellence in Education. With a focus on Chiefs for Change, Belinda works closely with the Chiefs to identify and coordinate strategic efforts that advance the Nation’s agenda of education reform and provide state support.

Prior to joining the Foundation, Belinda served as a senior strategic consulting professional for over fifteen years with international management consulting firms, Accenture and Deloitte serving both private and public sectors. Belinda helped to launch and grow the Strategy and Change Management practices to serve clients cross industry at Accenture and Deloitte.

Belinda’s strategic planning experience provides the required focus to design and develop strategic plans for education reform and the strategic imperatives that create bold, visionary reform.

Marketing Director

Jackie Barreiros

Jackie serves as Marketing Director for the Foundation for Excellence in Education, and provides communications and marketing support for Chiefs for Change. Prior to joining the Foundation, she served as the Director of Public Affairs for the Florida Lottery, where she was charged with the development and execution of public relations programs to increase awareness of contributions to education and help achieve the organization’s overall sales goals. Previously, she was the Director of Marketing & Communications for the Florida Prepaid College Board. Her experience also includes serving as Public Relations Manager for the Florida Long-Term Care Ombudsman Program and as Account Supervisor with Pantín/Beber Silverstein Public Relations. Jackie graduated cum laude from Florida International University with a bachelor’s degree in public relations from the School of Journalism and Mass Communication. She brings more than 15 years of communications and marketing experience, both in the public and private sectors, to the Foundation.

Senior Operations Manager

Elizabeth Emery

Elizabeth serves as Senior Operations Manager for the Foundation for Excellence in Education’s Washington, D.C. office, where she provides direct support to the Managing Director of Chiefs for Change. Prior to joining the Foundation, she spent several years overseas and worked with USAID-Lebanon to promote and publicize USAID projects in the country. Previously, she worked with the American Tort Reform Association as the Assistant Director of Legislation and with the American Legislative Exchange Council, coordinating their intern program and working as Policy Assistant.