2016-2017 AASA National Women's Leadership Consortium

More Than a Power Lunch: Building Networks to Support and Advance Women in School Leadership

  About l Consortium Leaders l Aspiring Leaders l Resources l Events l Awards|  Press     

 A. Clark                       

Ann Blakeney Clark, Superintendent, Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools, N.C.   



Ann Blakeney Clark brings a quarter-century of experience in Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools to her role as superintendent. Clark’s extensive education background includes serving as principal at elementary, middle and high schools. She most recently served as the chief academic officer.   

She graduated from Davidson College with a B.A. in English and earned a master’s degree in special education from the University of Virginia. 

Her achievements in education and the community have been widely recognized. She has been named a Broad Superintendent Fellow, Charlotte Women of the Year, the Thomas Jefferson Distinguished Alumnae Award from University of Virginia, National Principal of the Year (1994) and William Friday Fellow and Council for Great City Schools Outstanding Urban Educator Award winner.                                                                         


   J. Conboy

Jacinda H. Conboy,  General Counsel, The New York State Council of School Superintendents, N.Y.    


 Jacinda H. Conboy, Esq. (aka “Jazz”) is the General Counsel at the NYS Council of School Superintendents. She has been at The NYS Council of School Superintendents for five (5) years now.  At the Council Jazz provides advice regarding education issues, holds legal conferences, frequently presents to Superintendents, she negotiates Superintendent’s contracts and assists Superintendents in various legal matters.  In addition, Jazz has recently developed a program to promote and support women leaders in education in New York State.    

Jazz spent approximately twelve (12) years in private practice and previously concentrated her practice in representing school districts, municipalities and private sector clients in complex employment and civil rights litigation. She has considerable experience in advising clients on employment practices and policies, preparing employment policies and agreements and has lectured regarding employment practices.    


Fatima Goss Graves, Senior Vice President for Program, National Women’s Law Center, Washington, D.C.   


Fatima Goss Graves is Senior Vice President for Program, where she leads the Center’s broad program agenda to eliminate barriers in employment, education, health and reproductive rights and lift women and families out of poverty.  Prior to being named Senior Vice President, Ms. Goss Graves led the Center’s anti-discrimination initiatives, including work to promote equal pay, combat harassment and sexual assault at work and at school, and advance equal access to education programs, with a particular focus on outcomes for women and girls of color. She uses a number of advocacy strategies in her work on these issues ranging from public education and legislative advocacy to litigation, including briefs in the Supreme Court and federal courts of appeals.  

Prior to joining the Center, she worked as an appellate and trial litigator at Mayer Brown LLP. She began her career as a law clerk for the Honorable Diane P. Wood of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit. Ms. Goss Graves is a graduate of the University of California at Los Angeles and Yale Law School.  

She currently serves on the EEOC Select Task Force on the Study of Harassment in the Workplace and is a Ford Foundation Public Voices Fellow and an advisor on the American Law Institute Project on Sexual and Gender-Based Misconduct on Campus.    


Margaret Grogan, Dean of the College of Educational Studies, Chapman University, Calif.  



Margaret Grogan is Dean of the College of Educational Studies, Chapman University, California. Originally from Australia, she received a Bachelor of Arts degree in Ancient History and Japanese Language from the University of Queensland. She taught high school in Australia, and was a teacher and an administrator at the International School of the Sacred Heart, Tokyo where she lived for 17 years. After graduating from Washington State University with a PhD in Educational Administration, she taught educational leadership and policy at the University of Virginia and at the University of Missouri-Columbia and mentored many aspiring leaders.   

Among the various leadership positions she has held at her institutions and professional organizations, she served as Dean of the School of Educational Studies at Claremont Graduate University from 2008-2012, Chair of the Department of Educational Leadership and Policy Analysis at the University of Missouri-Columbia, 2002-2008, and she was President of the University Council for Educational Administration in 2003/4.    

She has also published many articles and chapters and has authored, co-authored or edited six books including Women and Educational Leadership (with Charol Shakeshaft, 2011).  Her current research focuses on women in leadership, gender and education, the moral and ethical dimensions of leadership, and leadership for social justice.      


Patricia E. Neudecker, Director of Administrative Leadership,  Assistant Professor, Alverno College,  and Consultant, Hazard Young and Attea, Wis.  



Patricia (Pat) Neudecker, PhD has a BS in education from UW Stout and a MS and PhD in Education Leadership and Policy Analysis from UW Madison.  She has been a public school educator in Wisconsin for over 33 years, and served as Superintendent of Schools in Oconomowoc Wisconsin for 11 years. Currently, Pat serves as the Director of Administrative Leadership Programs and Assistant Professor at Alverno College.    

During her career, Neudecker served as national president for the American Association of School Administrators, and served on numerous state and national committees.  She received the state WASDA Educator of the Year and Distinguished Service Awards, and the national AASA Distinguished Service Award.  Through professional associations, Neudecker has traveled and studied education systems in Europe and Asia.  Pat also conducts executive searches for school districts and school boards and serves on the Board of Visitors for the UW Madison School of Education.   

A strong believer in community service, Neudecker is a Rotarian and has served on numerous local boards.  Pat is married with two grown sons and 3 grandchildren.  A strong supporter of the arts, Pat also enjoys time with family, travel, and swimming.   

   C. Oldham 

Cheryl A. Oldham, Vice President of Education Policy, U.S. Chamber of Commerce, Washington, D.C  


Cheryl A. Oldham is senior vice president of education policy at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and is also senior vice president of the Center for Education and Workforce at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation.  

Oldham has 20 years of experience in public policy development and implementation as well as in project management and government relations. Her previous experience includes serving for 8 years in President George W. Bush’s administration. In July 2008, the president designated Oldham as acting assistant secretary for postsecondary education while also serving as chief of staff to the under secretary of education. As chief of staff, Oldham was the senior adviser on policy and strategy and oversaw the coordination of the programs and policies for which the office was responsible. These included vocational and adult education, postsecondary education, and federal student aid. 

In September 2005, the secretary of education appointed Oldham executive director of the Commission on the Future of Higher Education. The commission was the first of its kind to look at needed reforms in higher education related to accessibility, affordability, and accountability and produced a seminal report titled A Test of Leadership: Charting the Future of U.S. Higher Education.   

   Perez 2

Ruth Pérez, Superintendent, Paramount Unified School District, Calif.  



Dr. Ruth Perez is an educator of 30 years serving students in Orlando, FL, Charlotte, NC and several districts in Los Angeles. Recently she was the Deputy Superintendent for Instruction in the Los Angeles Unified School District and is now Superintendent in the Paramount Unified School District.   

Dr. Perez is an advocate for opportunities for all students to ensure a quality educational experience and success that leads to college and careers.  Her passion for putting students first, ahead of all priorities, has contributed to the success of students in various districts.  With a servant heart, love for people and a mission to improve education, she leads with conviction to shape the future for every child where she works. 

Dr. Perez serves on the Governing Board for the American Association of School Administrators, (AASA), the ACSA State Superintendency Council, is a member of the Southern California Superintendents Association and the California Association of Latino Administrators (CALSA).  She is also a member of the Rotary Club in Paramount.  



Judith Rattner, Superintendent, Berkeley Heights District, N.J.  



Judith Rattner assumed the leadership of the Berkeley Heights Schools in July 2005 and was named the NJ Superintendent of the Year for 2016.  She has been an active member of the New Jersey Association of School Administrators (NJASA) since 2000.  Currently she represents New Jersey on the AASA National Governing Board.  She most recently co-facilitated the NJASA Vision 2020 committee.  

She served as the President of NJASA in 2010/11; prior to her role as President, she served as the Association’s President-elect, Secretary and Treasurer. She was recently called into service again as the Interim President-Elect for the NJASA.  She has also represented NJASA on the Women’s Leadership Initiative with AASA and NJPSA, the NJ Department of Education Evaluation Pilot Advisory Committee, the PARCC Implementation Committee, and the AchieveNJ Advisory Committee. The Berkeley Heights district schools and programs have been recognized on the state and national level.   

Mrs. Rattner has also served as President of the NJ Council of Education and as an Executive Committee member of the NJ School Development Council.  A Seton Hall University graduate, she began her educational career as a Math and English teacher in Chatham and continued as an administrator in the Montville Township Public Schools.  


   M. Schopp

Melody Schopp, South Dakota Secretary of Education, S.D.  



Dr. Melody Schopp is South Dakota’s Secretary of Education. Schopp brings more than four decades of experience to her position to include a classroom teacher, school board member, and adjunct faculty at state universities. Her work in the Department of Education began in 2000 where she continued to take on additional responsibilities prior to her appointment by the Governor to serve on his cabinet in April of 2011. Schopp earned her bachelor and master degrees from the University of Mary, Bismarck, ND and PhD from the University of Nebraska, Lincoln in 2008.  

Schopp has led the state’s education system to focus on the aspiration of assuring that all students graduate college, career and life ready.  Dr. Schopp was instrumental in passing landmark legislation in 2016, increasing sales tax in the state dedicated to teacher salaries as well as helping to rewrite the education funding formula.  

Dr. Schopp is a member of the Council of Chief State School Officers, and assumes the role as president of the organization in 2017. She is the treasurer of the Education Commission of the States and on the Board of Directors for Jobs for America’s Graduates.  

Dr. Schopp is passionate in helping women to realize their opportunity to grow professionally and personally regardless of their circumstances in life.   



Amy F. Sichel, Superintendent, Abington School District, Pa. 



Dr. Amy Sichel has been a member of the Abington School District faculty for forty years and Superintendent for sixteen years.  She was Assistant Superintendent, Director of Pupil Services, a school psychologist, and counselor for the Abington School District.  She has been an Adjunct Associate Professor for the Graduate School of Education at the University of Pennsylvania for over thirty years.   

Dr. Sichel graduated from Lafayette College with a major in psychology and earned her M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in school psychology from the University of Pennsylvania.   

Dr. Sichel was selected as the 2010 Pennsylvania Superintendent of the Year and was named a 2010 eSchool News Tech-Savvy Superintendent for her vision, leadership, and accomplishments in educational technology.   Dr. Sichel was elected by her peer superintendents as the 2013-2014 President of AASA, The School Superintendents Association and was President of the Pennsylvania Association of School Administrators (PASA) in 2010-2011.  

Dr. Sichel and the Abington School District are recognized nationally for the district’s work in narrowing the achievement gaps for historically under-represented students.  She has co-authored a chapter in a book by Mr. Alan Blankstein and Dr. Pedro Noguero entitled Excellence Through Equity: Five Principles of Courageous Leadership to Guide Achievement for Every Student  

This initiative is made possible by the generous support of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.  


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Staff Contact: Valerie Truesdale, Assistant Executive Director, Leadership Network, at vtruesdale@aasa.org.