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Superintendent Group Names 20 Educators for Women Leadership Program

Earlier this year, we wrote about a new initiative from the AASA, the School Superintendents Association, to help women become superintendents earlier in their careers and stay on the job once they get there.

This week, the AASA announced the group of 20 women educators—from principals to chief academic officers—who will be part of the Aspiring Women Leaders Program.

They are:

  • Julissa Alcantar-Martinez, principal, Houston Independent School District, Houston, Texas;
  • Karen Arbogast, director of elementary education, Wooster City School District, Wooster, Ohio;
  • Margaret (Peggy) Aune, assistant superintendent, curriculum & instruction, Collier County Public Schools, Naples, Fla.;
  • Karen Cheser, chief academic officer/deputy superintendent, Boone County Schools, Florence, Ky.;
  • Rosalie Daca, chief academic officer, Racine Unified School District, Racine, Wis.;
  • Elizabeth Freeman, director of innovative learning, teaching and technology, Fremont School District 79, Mundelein, Ill.;
  • Allene Houston Jones, assistant principal, Paducah, Ky.;
  • Amy Illingworth, director, professional growth, Sweetwater Union High School District, San Diego, Calif.;
  • LaTonya Jones, assistant principal, DeKalb County School District, Atlanta, Ga.;
  • Amy Kortemeyer, assistant superintendent, Iowa City Community School District, Iowa City, Iowa;
  • Erica Lawrence, principal, Jefferson County Public Schools, Charlestown, Ind.;
  • Tamu Lucero, assistant superintendent, Stamford Public School District, Stamford, Conn.;
  • Kimberly MacKinney, chief academic officer, Oro Grande School District, Oro Grande, Calif.;
  • Carletta Marrow, instructional director, Prince George's County Public Schools, Temple Hills, Md.;
  • Judith Minor, associate superintendent, Community Unit School District 308, Oswego, Ill.;
  • Kristi Murphy, assistant superintendent, human resources, Arlington Public Schools, Arlington, Va.;
  • Stephanie Passman, gifted resource and intervention teacher, Albemarle County Public Schools, Keswick, Va.;
  • Kristen Paul, associate principal, Deerfield 109, Deerfield, Ill.;
  • Emily Shaw, principal, Hemet Unified School District, Hemet, Calif.; and
  • Melissa Woodard, chief academic officer, Boyertown Area School District, Boyertown, Pa.

The initiative, called More Than A Power Lunch: Building Networks to Support and Advance Women in School Leadership, is funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. (The Gates Foundation helps support Education Week's coverage of college- and career-ready standards and the use of personalized learning. Education Week retains sole editorial control.)

The two-year initiative aims in part to address the challenges and barriers that women who want to be superintendents face. It will have a mentoring component, with women from both education and the business world serving as mentors. There will also be networking opportunities and the chance for women to collaborate.  

The majority of school superintendents are still male, and women tend to become superintendents (or CEOs, depending on the district) later in their careers.

The AASA said the women demonstrated "professional excellence and a commitment to their work in the education field."

"Our country is blessed with an increasing number of talented women leaders who are making positive gains when it comes to educating our children and preparing them for life beyond high school," Daniel A. Domenech, the organization's executive director, said in a release announcing the selection.  

"Creating opportunities and building new strategies for female educators will not only strengthen our field but provide potential pathways for female students who may wish to pursue education administration as a profession."

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