Bold, sustained leadership is critical in order to have a highly effective education system that meets the needs of all students. Our Future Chiefs program is building a pipeline of talented and diverse educators who are ready to lead state and large district systems. These emerging leaders participate in a year-long program of collective learning about issues that are central to effective leadership and receive coaching and mentorship from Chiefs for Change members.

When alumni of the program become chiefs, they have the opportunity to work with our experienced chiefs in residence and trusted partners. Diversity, equity, and inclusion are core aspects of the Future Chiefs program. In addition to being politically and geographically diverse, 78 percent of those in the most recent cohort are leaders of color and 67 percent are women. Of the 34 leaders who made up the first four cohorts of the program, 41 percent have become superintendents or state chiefs.

Meet our Future Chiefs

Over the course of the year-long program, Future Chiefs benefit from learning experiences that include:

Quarterly in-person and virtual peer-to-peer sessions with the cohort

Individualized monthly coaching from former district and state chiefs

Shadowing current Chiefs for Change members

Training in public speaking, media preparation, and board relations

Consultancies to work through problems of practice with Chiefs for Change members and partners

Access to the Chiefs for Change network of members and partners

Support in search and placement for chief roles, including portfolio building and transition support

Women in Leadership programming designed specifically for female Future Chiefs

Watch video
Members of the fourth cohort of our Future Chiefs program explain what motivates them and why they aspire to lead a state or district education system.
Praise for the Future Chiefs Program

Cultivating the next generation of state and local education leaders is critical to ensuring that all students have the opportunities they deserve. Chiefs for Change’s Future Chiefs program will help better prepare a diverse group to step up and lead schools, districts, and states so that we continue to improve both equity and excellence for students.

John B. King, Jr
Former U.S. Secretary of Education

It’s inspiring to see these up-and-coming education leaders taking the next step in their development. Their intelligence, drive, and ability tell me that our public school systems will be in good hands for years to come. I congratulate them and thank Chiefs for Change for developing this mentorship program.

Arne Duncan
Former U.S. Secretary of Education

America’s students and teachers deserve the best. By supporting the growth of Future Chiefs, we can increase the pool of diverse, mission-driven, and exceptionally talented system leaders. I am excited to play a role in mentoring these Future Chiefs and launching such an important effort for the country.

Deborah A. Gist
Superintendent of Tulsa Public Schools

Women in Leadership

Far too few women, and women of color in particular, lead K–12 education systems. Despite the increasing diversity of our nation’s schools, and the enormous representation of women at other levels of public school systems, the vast majority of district superintendents and state chiefs are white men.

This is not merely a problem of fairness, of representation, or of opportunity. By squandering the promise of many of the nation’s best education leaders, we have created a talent crisis at the top of systems that serve millions of children. Changing that will require intentionally remaking a system that long ago put men in charge of women, not by happenstance, but by design.

Our Women in Leadership programming is designed specifically for female Future Chiefs and involves confidential women-only cohort convenings to allow these leaders to speak frankly about the challenges of the superintendency, the barriers to professional growth, and how to support one another in overcoming those challenges. In doing so, we have created a space for our women Future Chiefs to grow in trust, relationship, and leadership.