Press Release

PRESS RELEASE: Mayor Lori Lightfoot appoints Amy Rome to Chicago Board of Education

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: 06/03/19
M. René Islas
Chief External Relations Officer
marketing@leadingeducators.org


MAYOR LORI LIGHTFOOT APPOINTS AMY ROME TO CHICAGO BOARD OF EDUCATION
Leading Educators President brings more than 20 years of service within CPS to governing body


CHICAGO, IL - Today, new Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot announced that Amy Rome, President at Leading Educators and a long-time Chicago educator, will join the newly appointed Chicago Board of Education.

"The strength of our schools lies in their diversity, which is why we've announced a new board with strong representation to reflect the diverse voices of the students, families, teachers and staff of who they serve," said Mayor Lightfoot in a statement. "I want to thank our new board members who through their expertise and experience as teachers, administrators, parents, and proud CPS graduates, will ensure all students in all parts of the city have access to high-quality education."

Before joining Leading Educators as Vice President of Design in 2015, Rome worked in and with Chicago Public Schools for more than 20 years as a teacher, teacher leader, school leader, and principal supervisor. Most recently at the Academy for Urban School Leadership, she supported eight Chicago Public Schools as a principal manager and worked with principals and their instructional leadership teams across a network of 32 schools.  As Chief Program Officer, Rome advised Leading Educators’ three-year capacity-building partnership with Chicago Public Schools, funded primarily through a federal Investing in Innovation Fund (i3) grant that was awarded in 2016. Launched in 2017, the partnership enlisted Leading Educators to co-design and scale job-embedded, curriculum-specific professional learning supports for teachers across 14 schools.

“We know that Amy holds the welfare of Chicago’s students and families close to her heart, and we congratulate her on this incredible opportunity to contribute to her city.  We also thank Mayor Lightfoot’s team for their cooperation in assessing any potential conflicts with our partnership in Chicago to ensure this relationship will have no bearing on ongoing support to teachers,” said Leading Educators CEO Chong-Hao Fu.

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ABOUT LEADING EDUCATORS

Leading Educators is reinventing professional development for teachers, igniting the potential for exponential impact in schools and across districts.  We partner with school systems to establish the teaching, leadership, and conditions for continuous improvements in student opportunity at scale, helping teachers ensure excellent and equitable student outcomes every day.  www.leadingeducators.org


M. René Islas Joins Leading Educators as Chief External Relations Officer

CONTACT:
Adan Garcia
Associate Director of Communications
(202) 510-0827
marketing@leadingeducators.org

M. RENÉ ISLAS JOINS LEADING EDUCATORS AS CHIEF EXTERNAL RELATIONS OFFICER

Islas will oversee a strategy to expand districts’ access to supports and resources for improving teaching at scale

WASHINGTON, DC - March 26, 2019

M. René Islas, who has been a lifelong champion of expanding educational opportunities for all students, joins Leading Educators as the organization’s new Chief External Relations Officer (CERO), CEO Chong-Hao Fu announced.

The grandson of a school principal, Islas remembers learning the value of education from around the time he could talk.  “My grandfather taught me that in order for students to learn the content they need to pursue their dreams, they need strong relationships with skillful teachers who care about them and believe in the great things their students will achieve.  Throughout my career, I’ve been driven by a commitment to create the best school environments where teachers and their students will thrive,” Islas shared.

Islas has spent much of his career navigating the government, nonprofit, and consulting sectors to build coalitions of support around the issues most critical to advancing educational equity.  Most recently, he was the Executive Director of the National Association for Gifted Children where he led efforts to increase public awareness, change policies, and improve educator practice in support of advanced learners, especially the most vulnerable students who are historically underrepresented in gifted and talented programs through initiatives including the Giftedness Knows No Boundaries campaign.  Previously, he served as the Senior Vice President at Learning Forward, a nonprofit education association focused on building the capacity of leaders to establish and sustain effective professional learning, and as Chief of Staff for the Office of Elementary and Secondary Education in the U.S. Department of Education.  As CERO, Islas will lead a robust strategy to expand supports for districts and teachers to eradicate within-school equity gaps in pursuit of universal college and career readiness.             

“René brings a wealth of leadership expertise to our team, and he has helped make big things happen throughout his career to advance student outcomes by improving access to excellent educational opportunities.  Whether it was leading a coalition to create the Teacher Incentive Fund within the U.S. Department of Education by the U.S. Congress or launching thriving consulting businesses at Learning Forward and B&D Consulting, René has taken on innovative leadership challenges that have contributed to the broader education sector,” Fu shared.

“I am excited to join the powerful team at Leading Educators that is reinventing professional learning to support effective teaching for students from all backgrounds,” said Islas about the work ahead.

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About Leading Educators

Leading Educators is reinventing professional development for teachers, igniting the potential for exponential impact in schools and across districts.  We partner with states, districts, and public charter networks to design content-based learning and support structures that create the conditions for continuous improvements in teaching across their schools--helping teachers reach better, more equitable student outcomes.  www.leadingeducators.org

Kelvey Oeser Joins Leading Educators as First Chief of Networks

CONTACT:
Adan Garcia
Associate Director of Communications
(202) 510-0827
marketing@leadingeducators.org

 

KELVEY OESER JOINS LEADING EDUCATORS AS FIRST CHIEF OF NETWORKS

Oeser has led the design of teacher development opportunities for thousands of educators nationwide

AUSTIN, TX - January 28, 2019

Kelvey Oeser, who has led large scale improvements in supports for teachers over the past decade, joins Leading Educators as the organization’s first Chief of Networks this month.

Oeser brings a rich body of experience in supporting school systems to improve educational equity at scale.  Most recently, she was a Partner on the client team at TNTP where she led the redesign of the “Fast Start” teacher training approach as well as significant expansion efforts across the state of Texas.  She managed successful programmatic efforts including the Arizona Teaching Fellows program, several partnerships with large urban school districts to develop and execute district-based early career teacher training programs, and instructional improvements within Raise Your Hand Texas’s “Raising Blended Learners” districts.  As Chief of Networks, Oeser will oversee a growing portfolio of professional learning networks that currently reach four cities.           

Leading Educators partnerships aim to counter within-school opportunity gaps by providing districts and school systems with customized, multi-year approaches for scaling job-embedded professional learning.  This professional learning model equips teams of content-alike teacher leaders to plan and facilitate rigorous weekly learning grounded in quality curricula for peer teachers. The organization’s three networks currently serve approximately 67,400 students and 2,800 educators in Greater Chicago, Greater Grand Rapids, New Orleans, and Tulsa.  

“We feel fortunate to learn from Kelvey’s incredible experiences across Texas and her expertise in teacher development.  Kelvey brings so much wisdom and a fresh lens to our efforts to develop deeply contextualized options for expanding instructional learning and opportunity across districts.  We are thrilled to have her on our senior leadership team as a strategic partner, and we know she will be a critical partner to system leaders as they work to provide every child with great teaching every day,” Leading Educators President Amy Rome shared.

Throughout her career, Oeser has worked closely with a diverse community of educators to improve opportunities for student and teacher growth.  A graduate of Emory University, Loyola Marymount University, and the University of Texas at Austin, she began her career as a middle school English teacher in East Los Angeles. Later, she worked for the Texas Education Agency where she supported the launch of 35 STEM-focused high schools and managed several grant programs focused on redesigning high schools to better serve low-income communities. Then, at Teach for America, Oeser led a team of designers who created leadership and staff development opportunities for 550+ full-time instructional staff members and 800+ part-time instructional staff members serving TFA’s regions and summer institutes across the country.

“I am looking forward to taking on this new challenge of leading the strategy and implementation of Leading Educators’ programmatic partnerships with districts.  I feel so grateful for the opportunity to join an organization filled with such diverse, talented, experienced, and mission-driven leaders who are focused on achieving more equitable outcomes for students,” said Oeser about the work ahead.

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About Leading Educators

Leading Educators is reinventing professional development for teachers, igniting the potential for exponential impact in schools and across districts.  We partner with states, districts, and public charter networks to design training and support structures that improve the conditions for continuous growth across their schools--helping teachers reach better, more equitable student outcomes.  www.leadingeducators.org

Amy Rome Selected as First President of Leading Educators

July 16, 2018

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:

CONTACT:

Communications Manager

(202) 510-0827

marketing@leadingeducators.org

 

AMY ROME SELECTED AS FIRST PRESIDENT OF LEADING EDUCATORS

Rome brings twenty years of educational leadership to national school networks

 

NEW ORLEANS, LA - July 16, 2018

Amy Rome, who has led dramatic programmatic development and growth at Leading Educators as Vice President of Program Design and Chief Program Officer, has been named as the organization’s first President.

Over the past three years, Rome has worked closely with Leading Educators CEO Chong-Hao Fu to re-focus teacher leadership and professional development efforts on connected approaches that take curriculum, school leader support, and other key conditions into account.  This approach has helped some of the most innovative public school districts--including District of Columbia Public Schools and Tulsa Public Schools--launch system-wide support strategies that are strengthening teacher content knowledge and improving learning opportunities for underserved students.  As President, Rome will bring capacity-building partnerships to new districts and oversee direct support to hundreds of new teacher and school leaders each year.                     

CEO Chong-Hao Fu shared, “We are so excited for this next stage in our history.  Amy brings twenty years of leadership in urban school systems as a teacher, teacher developer, principal, and principal manager. She led schools in Chicago to achieve outstanding results for students, and as the leader of our program team has spurred systemic impact with our partners that will help  expand opportunity for students nationwide.”

Before joining Leading Educators, Rome served as a principal and director of principals at The Academy for Urban School Leadership.  There, she was a key figure in designing and implementing leadership development opportunities for for teams at 32 Chicago Public Schools campuses.  Rome’s work over the last three years at Leading Educators has afforded her the opportunity to collaborate with organizational and system leaders to focus on efforts to scale great teaching within systems.  Throughout her career, she has been dedicated to preparing teachers for high-need school transformation.

“I am especially thrilled about Amy’s new role as President. Amy is a true industry leader, brilliant innovator, and tireless champion for equity and education. She brings the vision and energy Leading Educators needs to achieve our audacious goals,” said Stuart Kaplan, chair of the Leading Educators Board of Directors and Director of Organization Development at Google.

Rome and Fu step into their new roles on July 16, 2018, which coincides with the start of the fourth Leading Educators Institute.

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About Leading Educators

Leading Educators is reinventing professional development for teachers, igniting the potential for exponential impact in schools and across districts.  We partner with states, districts, and public charter networks to design training and support structures that improve the conditions for continuous growth across their schools--helping teachers reach better, more equitable student outcomes.  www.leadingeducators.org

Leading Educators Launches Innovative Teacher Development Strategy with TPS

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: 5/14/18

CONTACT:

Adan Garcia

(202) 510-0827

marketing@leadingeducators.org

 

LEADING EDUCATORS LAUNCHES INNOVATIVE TEACHER DEVELOPMENT STRATEGY WITH TPS

Professional learning approach will dramatically expand supports for content mastery

 

TULSA, Okla. - May 14, 2018

Tulsa Public Schools (TPS) launched Empower, a dynamic professional learning strategy that will incorporate focused collaboration into the day-to-day work of teachers, in 10 schools this weekend.

Building on the district’s “Destination Excellence” vision of inspiring and preparing every student to love learning and achieve ambitious goals, Empower creates weekly opportunities for teams of teachers in a content area to lead collaborative learning and practice in rigorous standards and pedagogical best practices.  The program, developed in partnership with Leading Educators, stems from a central belief that schools are a critical unit of social change, and teacher leaders should be drivers of that change in pursuit of equity. In order for schools and districts to achieve equitable student outcomes, all students need to consistently experience rigorous and joyful learning and great teaching.  

Danielle Neves, the Executive Director of Teaching and Learning for TPS, shared, “Meeting our ambitious goals for students will require outstanding learning for our educators that is grounded in content and curricula, happening day-to-day and week-to-week in schools, and led by and for teachers.  Leading Educators is supporting us, but it is our work as a district, our vision, our ambitious goals for students.”

Leading Educators began planning with TPS one year ago to ensure that conditions and leadership at all levels of the district would be prepared for an effective roll-out.  The program is designed to gradually scale over a multi-year arc so support structures and planning systems become fully embedded in the district’s operations. This approach offers greater consistency and relevance relative to traditional, outside professional development options and focuses district-led work on iterative practice known to directly effect to student learning.

Leading Educators has worked with Education Resource Strategies to help school leaders align time, people, and money to schools’ priorities.  Each Empower school’s content-specific teams will experience 90 minutes of collaborative learning time within their master schedule each week - an increase of 30 minutes over previous years. TNTP supported this planning by conducting classroom walkthroughs meant to assess current instruction across the district.  

The Empower program’s first cohort of 55 educators was inducted on Saturday, May 12th in Tulsa.

“We believe we can accomplish something incredible together in Tulsa that radically changes expectations for what our teachers and students can collectively achieve when effectively supported to master strong content,” said Chong-Hao Fu, Leading Educators’ current Chief Learning Officer and incoming Chief Executive Officer.

Photo courtesy of Tulsa Public Schools

Photo courtesy of Tulsa Public Schools

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ABOUT LEADING EDUCATORS

Leading Educators is a national nonprofit organization founded in New Orleans that seeks to improve student achievement by leveraging the positive impact of experienced teachers who take on leadership positions in their schools.  We partner with states, districts, and public charter networks to design learning systems that develop the instructional skills and content knowledge of teachers so they can reach better, more equitable student outcomes.  www.leadingeducators.org

Press Release: ROADMAP FOR EFFECTIVE TEACHER LEADERSHIP RELEASED BY ASPEN INSTITUTE AND LEADING EDUCATORS

Paper Shows Districts how to Design Programs for Impact


Detroit, MI, October 20, 2014 – As school districts across the country confront the challenges of recruiting and retaining great teachers while trying to close persistent opportunity gaps, two prominent nonprofit organizations today released a blueprint for building effective teacher leadership programs. The Aspen Institute Education & Society Program and Leading Educators, which partners with school districts to accelerate the impact of teachers in leadership positions, unveiled Leading from the Front of the Classroom: A Roadmap for Teacher Leadership that Works at the Education Writers Association seminar in Detroit Monday.

The paper provides school districts with concrete strategies for maximizing the potential of highly effective teachers to influence their colleagues, shift school culture and advance teaching, learning, and student achievement. The good news is that school districts across America increasingly are investing in the development of new career pathways for their best teachers as a reward and retention strategy. Unfortunately, they often do so without regard for the impact they want these teachers to have or how this can reinforce and strengthen other reforms. As a result, these initiatives have yet to stem attrition or improve achievement in any consistent or widespread fashion.

“I’ve heard from so many teachers who are tired of the heartbreaking choice between serving their students and serving their profession. Teacher leadership must be a force for changing education—not a result of it,” U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan said.

Leading Educators Founder and CEO Jonas Chartock said, “What principal hasn’t wished she could harness the talent of her best teachers and spread it to every classroom in her school? We know from our own experience this is possible and with this paper, Leading Educators hopes to point districts in the direction of creating high-impact leadership programs that address their many challenges around talent retention, achievement, and administrator burnout. In the areas where Leading Educators works directly with schools on developing these types of programs, we have seen higher teacher satisfaction and more collaborative, less stressful learning environments.”

Aspen Institute Vice President Ross Wiener said, “Done right, teacher leadership elevates the profession while advancing other reforms. For example, it’s overwhelming for principals alone to give every teacher the feedback and guidance they need and deserve – and it’s not how any other profession is structured. Teacher leadership leverages talent within the teaching corps, makes the job more attractive to ambitious and accomplished teachers – and can make education reform more sustainable at the same time.” 

The paper cites several examples of effective teacher leadership initiatives at the state, school district, and school levels, including programs in Tennessee, Chicago, the District of Columbia, and Denver, among others. Standalone profiles also were released today of teacher leaders as Common Core coaches in Tennessee, team leaders in Denver Public Schools, and school-culture leads in the Noble Street Network of charter schools in Chicago.

These approaches share common attributes that have the potential to improve retention and student achievement:

They are designed for impact: This means aligning teacher leadership programs with key school priorities rather than just using leadership as an opportunity to recognize successful educators.

They know their context: Successful teacher leadership is predicated on having strong and well-defined systems in place to identify effective educators. School communities must have trust and confidence in their teacher leaders and not question the process by which they achieved their elevated position within a school.

They have defined measures of success: It is critical that districts and schools build a broad understanding of the long term and leading indicators of success. Vision must be clear and well-communicated.

They are built strategically: Effective teacher leadership programs cannot be a burden on principals or other educators, but must actually redistribute some responsibility in ways that make the principal job more manageable. Schools must commit to designing roles that make sense for their communities, train teachers in the management skills they need to be successful leaders, and recognize these leaders for their impact.

"By investing in the creation of a thoughtful teacher leadership program we've seen our schools in a position to hold all students to high expectations,” said Michael Milkie, Superintendent of Noble Network of Charter Schools. “This paper captures a critical piece of our success and hope it serves as a model for other school organizations and districts looking to maximize the impact of the talent in their classrooms."

Leading Educators and the Aspen Institute officially unveiled the paper during a panel discussion at the Education Writers Association’s Detroit seminar on teaching entitled The Push to Upgrade the Teaching Profession: What Reporters Need to Know. The full report can be seen at http://www.leadingeducators.org/publications.


ABOUT LEADING EDUCATORS

Leading Educators is a national nonprofit organization based in New Orleans that seeks to improve student achievement by accelerating the positive impact of experienced teachers who take on leadership positions in their schools. We partner with states, districts, schools and individual educators to design leadership opportunities and develop the management skills of teachers so they can lead their peers to better student outcomes. For more information, visit www.leadingeducators.org.  

ABOUT THE ASPEN INSTITUTE EDUCATION AND SOCIETY PROGRAM

The Education and Society Program improves public education by inspiring, informing, and influencing education leaders across policy and practice, with an emphasis on achieving equity for traditionally underserved students. For more information, visit www.aspeninstitute.org/education 

For Immediate Release

Contact: Jon Reinish

SKDKnickerbocker

202-999-0461

JReinish@SKDKnick.com

 

Katrin Thomas

The Aspen Institute

202-736-5857

Katrin.Thomas@aspeninst.org