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