March 12, 2020
Chiefs for Change Announces Fifth Cohort of Future Chiefs

WASHINGTON, DC—Chiefs for Change, a bipartisan network of state and district education chiefs, today announced the fifth cohort of its Future Chiefs​leadership development program:

  • Margaret Crespo, area superintendent, Boulder Valley School District (CO)
  • Christina Grant, chief of charters and innovation, The School District of Philadelphia (PA)
  • Brian Kingsley, chief academic officer, Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools (NC)
  • Gonzalo La Cava, chief of human resources, The School District of Palm Beach County (FL)
  • Peter Licata, regional superintendent, The School District of Palm Beach County (FL)
  • Arsenio Romero, superintendent, Deming Public Schools (NM)
  • Ayindé Rudolph, superintendent, Mountain View Whisman School District (CA)
  • Maria Vazquez, deputy superintendent, Orange County Public Schools (FL)
  • Seng-Dao Yang Keo, director, Office of Student and School Supports, Nevada Department of Education

Future Chiefs are bold, innovative leaders who are helping transform our nation’s schools and preparing to lead large state or district education systems. As participants in the yearlong Future Chiefs program, they engage in collective learning on issues central to effective leadership and receive coaching and mentorship from members of the Chiefs for Change network.

“Leading a district or state education system is a complex job, and the decisions we make as superintendents can have a profound impact on students, teachers, families, and communities,” Chiefs for Change Board Chair and San Antonio Independent School District Superintendent Pedro Martinez explained. “The individuals who have come up through our Future Chiefs program have gone on to lead some of the largest systems in the nation, taking on important challenges in an effort to ensure all children learn and thrive. Members of this new cohort are making a difference today and will have an even greater impact in the years to come.”

Diversity, equity, and inclusion are core to the Future Chiefs program: 78 percent of those in Cohort Five are leaders of color and 44 percent are women. The group is also diverse politically and geographically.

Of the 34 leaders who made up the first four cohorts of the Future Chiefs program, 38 percent have become superintendents or state chiefs, including, in the last 18 months, Denver Public Schools Superintendent Susana Cordova; Tennessee Education Commissioner Penny Schwinn; Indianapolis Public Schools Superintendent Aleesia Johnson; Rhode Island Elementary and Secondary Education Commissioner Angélica Infante Green; Providence Public Schools Turnaround Superintendent Harrison Peters; KIPP Texas – San Antonio Regional Superintendent Allen Smith; and Hillside Public Schools (New Jersey) Acting Superintendent Robert Gregory.

“The Future Chiefs program helped me gain a thorough understanding of the various responsibilities and considerations involved in leading a school system—from supporting teachers, principals, and staff; to engaging effectively with the community; to developing a strategic plan that will guide daily operations and meet students’ diverse needs,” said Donald Fennoy, a member of Chiefs for Change and superintendent of The School District of Palm Beach County. “I know what my Chiefs for Change mentors and the coaching trees I am a part of have meant to me. I am pleased that Gonzalo and Peter from our team in Palm Beach and these other talented educators will have the opportunity to learn from members of the distinguished network. Future Chiefs will help ensure that when education system leaders leave their posts, their efforts are sustained and strengthened by the next generation.”

To learn more about the Future Chiefs program, watch this video ​or click here.

About Chiefs for Change
Chiefs for Change is a nonprofit, bipartisan network of diverse state and district education chiefs dedicated to preparing all students for today’s world and tomorrow’s through deeply committed leadership. Chiefs for Change advocates for policies and practices that are making a difference today for students, and builds a pipeline of talented, diverse Future Chiefs ready to lead major school systems.