AASA Launches National Commission to Provide Leadership to Transform America’s Education System

April 08, 2021


James Minichello
703-774-6953 (cell)

Alexandria, Va. – January 28, 2021 – Given the imperative decisions school districts are making due to the challenges and opportunities in today’s public education landscape, AASA, The School Superintendents Association, in partnership with an array of stakeholder organizations, has created a coalition to develop recommendations on transforming education to be more student-centered, equity focused and forward reaching.

Learning 2025: National Commission on Student-Centered, Equity-Focused Education is comprised of school system leaders and business and non-profit leaders, and is chaired by Daniel A. Domenech, executive director of AASA, and Bill Daggett, founder of the International Center on Leadership for Education and the Successful Practices Network. The commission’s chief objective is to safely and equitably prepare all students for a workplace and society for the future.

“The effects of the global pandemic, combined with the economic downturn and civil unrest, have created a cultural tipping point—a point in time when we need to be bold,” said Domenech. “We need to step out and make recommendations about bold ideas that will pave the way to help shape and prepare students for the future.”

“Challenges are deep and solutions are complex, but transformation is essential,” said Kristi Wilson, superintendent, Buckeye (Ariz.) Elementary School District and the 2020-21 president of AASA. “We, as educational leaders and policymakers, can exist in a reactionary position for the foreseeable future or we can choose to seize the moment to reinvent education for America’s children.”

“We must ensure that we, as a nation, care for the whole child, ensuring that each student is healthy, safe, supported and taught at levels that stretch his or her thinking,” said Daggett. “To accomplish this, we must nurture a growing awareness among educators, parents, business leaders and policymakers that the current model of American education was designed for a different purpose at a different time in our history.” 

Critical components of the Learning 2025 Commission will focus on creating actionable recommendations that can be implemented in demonstration sites, building a resource library consisting of contributions from school districts to identify a cross-section of forward-thinking urban, suburban and rural districts. Districts will help guide practical application, linking together through a series of virtual forums to share successes and solve problems of practice. The network will share its findings with other districts across the country in conferences, publications and on social media later this year. 

“We have to make sure that we’re not here simply to create another white paper or report that sits on a shelf somewhere,” said Mort Sherman, associate executive director, Leadership Network, AASA. “This effort is designed for action and implementation, especially at the local level.”

Commission 2025 members include:

Gustavo Balderas
Superintendent, Edmonds School District
Lynnwood, Wash.

Gregg Behr
Executive Director, The Grable Foundation
Pittsburgh, Pa.

Luvelle Brown
Superintendent, Ithaca City School District
Ithaca, N.Y

Pamela Cantor
Founder, Turnaround for Children
New York, N.Y.

Brenda Cassellius
Superintendent, Boston Public Schools
Roxbury, Mass.

Michael Conner
Superintendent, Middletown Public Schools
Middletown, Conn.

Sharon Contreras
Guilford County Schools
Greensboro, N.C.

Gladys Cruz
Superintendent, Questar III BOCES
Castleton, N.Y.

Deborah Delisle
President and CEO, Alliance for Excellent Education
Washington, D.C.

MaryEllen Elia
Former State Commissioner, New York Dept. of Education
Retired Superintendent
Albany, N.Y.

Karen Garza
President and CEO, Battelle for Kids
Hilliard, Ohio

Benjamin Heuston
CEO, Waterford.org
Taylorsville, Utah

Kathy Hoffman
State Superintendent of Public Instruction, Arizona Dept. of Education
Phoenix, Ariz.

Samuel Houston
President and CEO
North Carolina Science, Mathematics, and Technology Education Center
Research Triangle Park, N.C.

Ann Levett
Superintendent, Savannah-Chatham County Public Schools
Savannah, Ga.

Khalid Mumin
Superintendent, Reading School District
Reading, Pa. 

Michael Petrilli
President, Thomas B. Fordham Institute
Washington, D.C.

David Schuler
Superintendent, Township High School District 214
AASA Past President
Arlington Heights, Ill.

Malbert Smith
President and CEO, MetaMetrics, Inc.
Durham, N.C.

Aaron Spence
Superintendent, Virginia Beach City Public Schools
Virginia Beach, Va.

Stuart Udell
CEO, Achieve3000
Melville, N.Y. 

Tom Vander Ark
CEO, Getting Smart
Federal Way, Wash.

Steven Webb
Superintendent (Ret.), Vancouver Public Schools
Vancouver, Wash.

Kristi Wilson
Superintendent, Buckeye Elementary School District
AASA President
Buckeye, Ariz.

Jessie Woolley-Wilson
CEO, DreamBox Learning
Bellevue, Wash

Kelly Young
President, Education Reimagined
Washington, D.C.

Commission facilitators include Sherman and Ray McNulty, president of the Successful Practices Network.

For additional information about Learning 2025: National Commission on Student-Centered, Equity-Focused Education, visit the AASA website, contact Sherman at msherman@aasa.org, or contact Debbie Magee, program director, at dmagee@aasa.org.


About AASA
AASA, The School Superintendents Association, founded in 1865, is the professional organization for more than 13,000 educational leaders in the United States and throughout the world. AASA’s mission is to support and develop effective school system leaders who are dedicated to equitable access for all students to the highest quality public education. For more information, visit www.aasa.org.