School & District Management

Two Big-City Districts Hire Women Superintendents

By Corey Mitchell — May 11, 2017 1 min read
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The Cincinnati and Oakland, Calif., school systems conducted nationwide searches to find new superintendents, but found their top candidates right at home.

Pending contract negotiations, Laura Mitchell will soon take the helm in Cincinnati and Kyla Johnson-Trammell will lead Oakland’s schools. Both women served as deputy superintendents and attended schools in their respective districts.

Mitchell and Johnson-Trammell are also among a small, but growing number of women taking the helm of school districts. Despite the recent growth, still only a quarter of all superintendents are women, according to a survey conducted last summer by AASA, the School Superintendents Association.

My colleague Denisa Superville wrote about the stubborn gender gap in school leadership in a deep-dive story back in November. Last April, AASA launched a new initiative to help women reach the superintendency earlier in their careers and persist once they are on the job.

Mitchell, Cincinnati’s deputy superintendent and chief academic officer, will succeed Mary Ronan, who will retire this summer after leading the 35,000-student district for nine years. The new school chief beat out candidates from more than 40 states to land the job.

Laura Mitchell

In a prepared statement, Mitchell said she aims to “ensure that all of our schools are good schools and that all of our students have opportunities for excellence.”

Johnson-Trammell, Oakland’s interim deputy superintendent, will replace Antwan Wilson, who left California in December to lead the District of Columbia schools.

Starting out as an elementary school teacher in Oakland, Johnson-Trammell has worked as an educator in her hometown for nearly two decades. She’s scheduled to be at the helm of the 49,000-student district on July 1, taking the reins from interim superintendent Devin Dillon.

Kyla Johnson-Trammell

“I am honored by this opportunity to guide such an important organization in my hometown. To lead the teachers and staff of OUSD has been a dream of mine since I first stepped into a classroom as a professional,” Johnson-Trammell said in a prepared statement.

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Photo Credits: Cincinnati Public Schools: Oakland Unified Schools

A version of this news article first appeared in the District Dossier blog.