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The Politics of the Superintendency: An Emerging Framework.

I sat down with Dr. Jennifer Cheatham after her presentation to a packed house of superintendents and other education leaders this morning. She was joined by retired superintendent and education leadership icon Dr. Carl Cohn, and veteran Cajon Valley Union School District superintendent Dr. David Miyashiro. They presented a framework for superintendents to navigate the thorny political landscape.

The framework emerged from the Collaborative on Political Leadership in the Superintendency (CPLS), a joint collaborative of Harvard (Cheatham) and Claremont (Cohn). The collaborative receives funding from the Hewlett Foundation, whose mission to improve the effectiveness of the nonprofit sector fund many worthwhile projects in education…and this is a worthwhile project in the face of a superintendent exodus and a dearth of leaders to follow their departures.

CPLS aspires to end superintendency isolation and create a powerful network of support. Judging from the response of the room – that's exactly what superintendents want and need. According to Dr. Cheatham, superintendents must be politically astute to effectively lead school districts. CPLS is a group of about 30 education leaders occupying a variety of spaces, including the superintendency, superintendent preparation and support, and higher education. She emphasized the degree of granularity she and her cohort of scholars strive to achieve as they deconstruct the role of the superintendency and reconceptualize the role.

Join the CPLS mailing list here to receive updates on their website launch, podcast episode drops, and the release of new resources.

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