Chiefs for Change Welcomes Three New Members

Chiefs for Change
March 28, 2019

Chiefs for Change, a bipartisan network of state and district education chiefs, today announced three new members:

●      Susana Cordova: Superintendent, Denver Public Schools, Colorado

●      Chad Gestson: Superintendent, Phoenix Union High School District, Arizona

●      Penny Schwinn: Commissioner of Education, Tennessee

Members of Chiefs for Change share a deep commitment to excellence and equity for all students and a track record of implementing policies that reflect a set of core beliefs. They have worked to expand school choice initiatives; establish strong accountability systems; promote the use of high-quality instructional materials and related professional learning; and create reliable, affordable postsecondary pathways.

Two of the new members announced today, Susana Cordova and Penny Schwinn, are alumnae of the Chiefs for Change Future Chiefs program, which identifies some of the most talented emerging leaders and integrates them into a community with current chiefs. The program provides a set of experiences, placement supports, and preparation that will enable districts and states to choose skilled, ready leaders. Both individuals were recently selected to oversee systems previously led by other Chiefs for Change members: Schwinn succeeded Candice McQueen in Tennessee, and Cordova succeeded Tom Boasberg in Denver.

“As the Chiefs for Change community grows, we continue to see the importance of sustained leadership,” said Chiefs for Change Board Chair and Louisiana State Superintendent of Education John White. “Outcomes improve and students win when highly effective leaders build off each other’s progress and strengthen efforts that are already underway.”

Chiefs for Change currently has 37 members, 27 of whom are actively serving as chiefs. Of that group, 20 are district chiefs and seven are state chiefs. Fifty-seven percent of the members are leaders of color, and 38 percent are women.

“We are proud to welcome these impressive and dedicated leaders to our community,” said Chiefs for Change CEO Mike Magee. “They lead systems that are doing some of the most innovative work in the country to ensure that all students receive an excellent education and graduate prepared for college and careers.”

Quotes From New Members

Susana Cordova: “Through the Future Chiefs program, I met so many inspiring leaders who are a part of Chiefs for Change. Each one of them is focused on creating schools that serve all children well. I am excited to join this community, share ideas, and spread policies and practices that are having a positive impact in our communities.”

Chad Gestson: “Our comprehensive high schools and specialty schools in the portfolio of the Phoenix Union High School District are all designed to prepare students for success in college, career, and life.  I look forward to sharing our work with members of Chiefs for Change and supporting the group’s national efforts to advocate for the changes outlined in its blueprint for postsecondary success.”

Penny Schwinn: “I am honored to build on the strong legacy of Chiefs for Change members who have led bold efforts to improve outcomes for students in Tennessee. There is so much to learn from the great work happening across this network, and I know Tennessee will continue to be a state to watch for innovative ideas.”

All Chiefs for Change Members

  • Rob Anderson: Superintendent of Boulder Valley School District, Colorado
  • Katy Anthes: Commissioner of Education, Colorado
  • Robert Avossa: Former Superintendent of The School District of Palm Beach County, Florida
  • Desmond Blackburn: Former Superintendent of Brevard County Schools, Florida
  • Tom Boasberg: Former Superintendent of Denver Public Schools, Colorado
  • Steve Canavero: Former Superintendent of Public Instruction, Nevada
  • Emmanuel Caulk: Superintendent of Fayette County Public Schools, Kentucky
  • Christopher Cerf: Former Superintendent of Newark Public Schools, New Jersey
  • Tommy Chang: Former Superintendent of Boston Public Schools, Massachusetts
  • Sharon Contreras: Superintendent of Guilford County Schools, North Carolina
  • Susana Cordova: Superintendent of Denver Public Schools, Colorado
  • John Deasy: Superintendent of Stockton Unified School District, California
  • Paolo DeMaria: Superintendent of Public Instruction, Ohio
  • Susan Enfield: Superintendent of Highline Public Schools, Washington
  • Donald Fennoy: Superintendent of The School District of Palm Beach County, Florida
  • Lewis Ferebee: Chancellor of DC Public Schools, District of Columbia
  • Chad Gestson: Superintendent of Phoenix Union High School District, Arizona
  • Deborah Gist: Superintendent of Tulsa Public Schools, Oklahoma
  • Bill Hite: Superintendent of the School District of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
  • Janice Jackson: Chief Executive Officer of Chicago Public Schools, Illinois
  • Barbara Jenkins: Superintendent of Orange County Public Schools, Florida
  • Hanseul Kang: State Superintendent of Education, District of Columbia
  • Christina Kishimoto: Superintendent, Hawaii
  • Henderson Lewis, Jr.: Superintendent, Orleans Parish School Board, Louisiana
  • Pedro Martinez: Superintendent of San Antonio Independent School District, Texas
  • Candice McQueen: Former Commissioner of Education, Tennessee
  • Scott Muri: Superintendent of Schools of Spring Branch Independent School District, Texas
  • Kunjan Narechania: Chief Executive Officer of the Recovery School District, Louisiana
  • Orlando Riddick: Superintendent of Midland Independent School District, Texas
  • Paymon Rouhanifard: Former Superintendent of Camden City School District, New Jersey
  • Robert Runcie: Superintendent of Broward County Public Schools, Florida
  • Christopher Ruszkowski: Former Secretary of Education, New Mexico
  • Sonja Santelises: Chief Executive Officer of Baltimore City Public Schools, Maryland
  • Penny Schwinn: Commissioner of Education, Tennessee
  • John White: State Superintendent of Education, Louisiana
  • Antwan Wilson: Former Chancellor of DC Public Schools, District of Columbia
  • Carey Wright: State Superintendent of Education, Mississippi
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.