Far too few women, and women of color, are leading K–12 school systems. Despite the increasing diversity of our nation’s schools, and the enormous representation of women at other levels of our 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. And 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 our 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 that stand in their way, and how they can support one another in dismantling those barriers. In doing so, we have created a space for our women Future Chiefs to grow in trust, relationship, and leadership.


Future Chiefs Programming

Meet Cohort 1

Meet Cohort 2

Meet Cohort 3

Meet Cohort 4

Breaking Through: Shattering the Glass Ceiling for Women Leaders

Nominate a Future Chief

Future Chiefs in the News



"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 new program, Future Chiefs, 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. 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
"As CEO of the first Latino-founded and led national organization solely dedicated to building a pipeline of Latino education leaders and advocates, I know how important it is to identify and nurture talent. Chiefs for Change is doing it right with Future Chiefs and this impressive inaugural class. I cannot wait for the talent pipeline to be bursting with education leaders ready to take our systems to new and great places."  
Amanda Fernandez CEO, Latinos for Education
"In today’s education landscape, leadership at the state and local levels is a significant factor in helping all of our kids reach their full potential, and building a pipeline of skilled and qualified future education Chiefs is more important now than ever before. These Future Chiefs have a great opportunity to continue to develop, grow, and help build a brighter future for school children across America."  
Hanna Skandera Secretary of Education, New Mexico
"School leaders face a multitude of challenges. This program aims to prepare future education leaders to face those challenges, and equip aspiring Chiefs with the skills to be successful for kids. The Council of Chief State School Officers works with state Chiefs to ensure all students receive a high-quality education. It’s my hope that a strong bench of aspiring Chiefs ready to step into important educational leadership roles will only further the pursuit of student success.  
Chris Minnich Executive Director, Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO)
"America’s students and teachers deserve the best, and excellent leaders, like Talia Shaull from Tulsa Public Schools, need opportunities to expand their knowledge and experience. 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, Tulsa Public Schools