Every year Education Week highlights a group of outstanding school district leaders in its Leaders to Learn From special report. According to Education Week, these leaders “are tackling some of the most pressing challenges in K-12 education… [Their] stories are packed with ideas and strategies that are yielding strong results that can be borrowed, adapted, and put to successful use in other school systems.”
This year, five of the 16 leaders Education Week identified are part of IEL’s network, including participants in IEL’s Education Policy Fellowship Program (EPFP), an early leader in IEL’s family and community engagement work, and several leaders connected to the work of IEL’s Coalition for Community Schools.
Mark D. Benigni, superintendent for Meriden Public Schools in Connecticut, is part of the Superintendent Leadership Council for IEL’s Coalition for Community Schools. Education Week acknowledges Benigni for the results yielded from his investment in extended learning time in his district’s struggling schools.
Christopher Chatman, executive director of the Office of African-American Male Achievement at Oakland Unified School District in California, is part of the nation’s community schools movement and connected to IEL’s Coalition for Community Schools, with which he is soon co-presenting a webinar on the White House’s My Brother’s Keeper initiative and community schools. Education Week honored Chatman for his leadership in supporting boys of color.
Kathy Fortino, associate superintendent for special education and early childhood at Muskegon Area Intermediate School District in Michigan, is a 2003-04 EPFP alumna. Fortino is recognized for her leadership in overhauling her district’s special education system.
Patricia A. Spradley, the chief parent and community engagement officer for Springfield Public Schools in Massachusetts, is a founding member of IEL’s District Leader’s Network on Family and Community Engagement. Education Week recognized Spradley for her leadership in parent engagement.
Alita McCoy Zuber, assistant superintendent for business at the Ossining Union Free School District in New York, is a current EPFP fellow. Education Week recognized her for her leadership in school district finance and building a strong case for K-12 investment.
Additionally, Tiffany Anderson, while not directly connected to IEL, is part of the community schools movement and was acknowledged for her leadership in community schools and confronting the challenges of poverty.
IEL congratulates all 16 of the 2015 Leaders to Learn From.