State Superintendents

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School & District Management Opinion How One State Is Talking About School Improvement
The country's longest-serving state schools chief addresses what's changed in the field of education during her tenure.
Rick Hess, December 21, 2023
6 min read
Tulsa Public Schools board members Jennettie Marshall, left, and president Stacey Woolley speak to the members of the State Board of Education during a meeting where the board voted 6-0 to approve accreditation with deficiencies for the Tulsa Public School district in the Oliver Hodge Building on Aug. 24, 2023, in Oklahoma City.
Tulsa Public Schools board members Jennettie Marshall, left, and president Stacey Woolley speak to the members of Oklahoma's board of education on Aug. 24, 2023. The board voted 6-0 to approve accreditation with deficiencies for the district, for now averting the possibility of state control.
Daniel Shular/Tulsa World via AP
School & District Management Tulsa Maintains Accreditation, Averting State Control—For Now
But the district's school board president issued an unusual rebuke to Oklahoma's top education official.
Evie Blad, August 24, 2023
5 min read
Superintendent Deborah Gist, a woman with long brown hair wearing a black suit, sits at a desk as she speaks into a microphone.
Superintendent Deborah Gist speaks during a Tulsa Public Schools board meeting in Tulsa, Okla. on March 5, 2018.
Joey Johnson/Tulsa World via AP
School & District Management With a State Takeover on the Table, the Leader of Oklahoma’s Largest District Resigns
Gist cited her desire to avert state control—even as the looming vote has spurred teachers and students to activism.
Evie Blad, August 22, 2023
7 min read
People gather for a rally organized by LGBTQ youth and adults in opposition to Senate Bill 150 and also to celebrate Trans Day of Visibility in Lexington, Ky., Friday, March 31, 2022.
People gather for a rally organized by LGBTQ youth and adults in opposition to Senate Bill 150 and also to celebrate Trans Day of Visibility in Lexington, Ky., Friday, March 31, 2022.
Silas Walker/Lexington Herald-Leader via TNS
States Ky. Education Commissioner Says ‘Dangerous’ Anti-LGBTQ Law Led to His Resignation
Kentucky’s top education leader said he didn’t want to enforce the new Senate Bill 150 that critics have called an anti-LGBTQ measure.
Valarie Honeycutt Spears, Lexington Herald-Leader, August 2, 2023
2 min read
Image shows a multi-tailed arrow hitting the bullseye of a target.
DigitalVision Vectors/Getty
States Opinion Advice for State School Chiefs: Focus on All Kids at All Times
Through the pandemic and culture clashes, a state superintendent tried to keep her eye on her main mission—student success.
Rick Hess, July 27, 2023
9 min read
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Equity & Diversity A State Said Districts Had to Report Spending on DEI. Some Defied the Mandate
Some of Oklahoma's largest school districts resisted a directive to detail their spending on diversity, equity, and inclusion initiatives.
6 min read
Superintendent of Public Instruction Ryan Walters presides over a special state Board of Education meeting discuss to the U.S. Department of Education's "Proposed Change to its Title IX Regulations on Students' Eligibility for Athletic Teams", Wednesday, April 12, 2023, in Oklahoma City.
Oklahoma's superintendent of public instruction, Ryan Walters presides over a special state Board of Education meeting on April 12, 2023, in Oklahoma City to discuss the U.S. Department of Education's proposed changes to Title IX rules that would prohibit states from categorically banning transgender athletes from playing on teams that align with their gender identity. Walters was among four conservative state education chiefs who spoke at the national summit for the group Moms for Liberty on June 30.
Sue Ogrocki/AP
Federal Conservatives Renew Call to End U.S. Education Department at Moms for Liberty Summit
A panel of state schools chiefs criticized the federal agency at the summit in Philadelphia for policies that "indoctrinate" students.
Libby Stanford, July 5, 2023
6 min read
Lessons on the dry-erase board in history teacher Kala Hester's classroom at Millwood High School on April 20, 2022 in Oklahoma City. Oklahoma schools will have to report all DEI-related spending, per a new rule.
Lessons on the dry-erase board in history teacher Kala Hester's classroom at Millwood High School on April 20, 2022 in Oklahoma City. Oklahoma schools will have to report all DEI-related spending, per a new rule.
Brett Deering for Education Week
Equity & Diversity State Chief Targets DEI Initiatives. Here's How District Leaders Are Responding
Some Oklahoma superintendents are concerned about the state's reporting requirement on DEI spending.
Eesha Pendharkar, May 23, 2023
7 min read
Aidan Lau-Struck, 6, helps his mom Stephanie Lau feed her ballot into the machine at the Brighton Green Community Association voting precinct in North Chesterfield, Va., on Election Day, Tuesday, Nov. 8, 2022.
Aidan Lau-Struck, 6, helps his mother, Stephanie Lau, feed her ballot into the machine at the Brighton Green Community Association voting precinct in North Chesterfield, Va., on Election Day.
Eva Russo/Richmond Times-Dispatch via AP
States K-12 and the Midterms: What to Watch For
Educators sound off on what the hard-fought midterm elections could mean for K-12 policy.
Libby Stanford, November 8, 2022
6 min read
Ellen Weaver, the Republican nominee for South Carolina superintendent of education, speaks at U.S. Rep. Jeff Duncan's Faith & Freedom BBQ ahead of the keynote speaker, former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, on Monday, Aug. 22, 2022, in Anderson, S.C.
Ellen Weaver, the Republican nominee for South Carolina superintendent of education, speaks at U.S. Rep. Jeff Duncan's Faith & Freedom BBQ in Anderson, S.C.
Meg Kinnard/AP
States K-12 Insider or Conservative Advocate? Stark Choice in One State Superintendent's Race
A think tank CEO and a high school English teacher battle it out for South Carolina's top K-12 job.
Libby Stanford, October 14, 2022
8 min read
Outgoing Arizona schools chief Tom Horne asserts that a major school district in Tucson is violating a new state law by continuing an ethnic studies program designed primarily for Hispanics, pointing out a quotation from a textbook used in the class, at a news conference in Phoenix on Jan. 3, 2011. A federal judge in Tucson, in a finding made public Tuesday, Aug. 22, 2017, ruled that an ethnic studies ban in Arizona that shuttered a popular Mexican-American program was enacted with racial discrimination. The 2010 law dismantled the Tucson Unified School District program, launching months of protests by students and parents who said it enriched school performance.
Tom Horne, the Republican nominee for the Arizona schools superintendent position, says he would put an end to critical race theory and "indoctrination" if elected.
Ross D. Franklin/AP
States Divisions on Race, Gender Intensify a Fight for State Superintendent
The Arizona election for state superintendent illustrates the polarization engulfing K-12 policy nationwide.
Libby Stanford, September 30, 2022
9 min read
Florida Education Commissioner Richard Corcoran speaks during a bill signing ceremony at St. John the Apostle School on May 11, 2021, in Hialeah, Fla.
Florida Education Commissioner Richard Corcoran speaks during a bill signing ceremony at St. John the Apostle School on May 11, 2021, in Hialeah, Fla.
Wilfredo Lee/AP
School & District Management Florida Commissioner Says ‘We Made Sure’ Teacher Who Hung Black Lives Matter Flag Was Fired
But the Duval County teacher has not been fired. She's been reassigned to non-teaching duties while the district investigates.
Emily Bloch, The Florida Times-Union, May 18, 2021
2 min read
Woman applying "Welcome Back" sign to the school entrance
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States How to Talk About Next School Year Presents a Big Test for Education Leaders
State K-12 officials must clearly communicate plans for safety, academics, and mental health, while mixing urgency with nuance.
Andrew Ujifusa, April 12, 2021
12 min read
Image of students taking a test.
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Accountability State Schools Chiefs Push Biden for Wiggle Room on Accountability During Pandemic
State schools chiefs say it's necessary to change how they use scores from mandated annual tests during the unprecedented disruption created by the coronavirus pandemic.
Evie Blad, December 17, 2020
4 min read