WASHINGTON, DC — Chiefs for Change, a bipartisan network of state and district education chiefs,  today announced that Aleesia Johnson, Interim Superintendent of Indianapolis Public Schools, was selected to join the fourth cohort of its Future Chiefs program.

“I’m honored to be joining this incredible community, and I look forward to the opportunity to work with like-minded leaders who are expanding opportunities for all students,” said Johnson.

Future Chiefs are bold and innovative leaders helping to transform our nation’s schools and are poised to take on even greater roles in education. They will participate in a year-long program of collective learning on issues that are central to effective leadership. In the organization’s fourth cohort, Johnson is joined by eight other district and state leaders:

  • Jessica Baghian: Assistant Superintendent, Louisiana Department of Education
  • Mohammed Choudhury: Chief Innovation Officer, San Antonio Independent School District (TX)
  • Pauline Dow: Deputy Superintendent for Academics and School Leadership, San Antonio Independent School District (TX)
  • Christine Fowler-Mack: Chief Portfolio Officer, Cleveland Metropolitan School District (OH)
  • Eric Hall: Chancellor for Innovation, Florida Department of Education
  • Marie Izquierdo: Chief Academic Officer, Miami-Dade Public Schools (FL)
  • LaTanya McDade: Chief Education Officer, Chicago Public Schools (IL)
  • Allen Smith: Chief of Culture, Equity and Leadership, Denver Public Schools (CO)

“These Future Chiefs are already making a tangible difference for students across the country, and Aleesia is no exception,” said Chiefs for Change CEO Mike Magee. “We’re impressed by her commitment to the Indianapolis community and her relentless drive to do the right thing for students and families.”

Diversity, equity, and inclusion are core to the Future Chiefs program: 78 percent of those in Cohort Four are leaders of color and 67 percent are women. The group also and includes diversity in terms of both political affiliation and geography.  

“The Future Chiefs program has begun to shift the way some of our nation’s most prominent education chiefs think about leadership transitions,” said Chiefs for Change Board Chair and Louisiana State Superintendent John White. “We owe it to our students to continuously prepare and lift up education leaders who are making a difference, so that great work will be strengthened — not compromised — in the passing of the baton.”

Of the 25 leaders who made up the first, second, and third cohorts of the Future Chiefs program, one third have become superintendents or state chiefs. Most recently, Penny Schwinn was selected to lead the Tennessee Department of Education, succeeding Chiefs for Change member Candice McQueen, and Susana Cordova was selected to lead Denver Public Schools, succeeding Chiefs for Change board member Tom Boasberg. The emerging leaders in the program will be recognized at the Future Chiefs Cohort Four launch event at 4 p.m. on April 9 at the Renaissance Washington, DC Downtown Hotel. Co-hosted by the Fordham Institute, the event will include a discussion on shattering the glass ceiling for women superintendents and state chiefs. To join us for the event, please RSVP here.