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TC Reprises Renowned Superintendents Conference


Brian Perkins

Brian Perkins

The 68th annual Superintendents Work Conference will be held on July 28 and 29 for local superintendents juggling competing reform pressures and shrinking budgets.
NEW YORK, NY – As local school superintendents nationwide struggle to close wide budget gaps, Teachers College has reinstated its prestigious Superintendents Work Conference, an annual gathering for school leadership to share ideas and respond to shifting policy and budget demands.

Thirty-eight superintendents from across the country are expected at the 68th annual superintendents gathering in Milbank Chapel at Teachers College, Columbia University, West 120th Street and Broadway, on Thursday and Friday. In a new twist aimed at building local leadership capacity, a parallel conference for more than 60 principals and assistant superintendents will be held at the same time.

This year’s conference is entitled, “Pursuing Equity and Excellence: Courageous Conversations on Education Design and Innovation.” Keynote speakers will include Daniel A. Domenech, Ph.D., executive director of the American Association of School Administrators, and Michele P. Brooks, Assistant Superintendent for Family and Student Engagement, Boston Public Schools. 

TC launched the Superintendents Work Conference in 1941 (President Dwight D. Eisenhower attended more than once during his tenure as President of Columbia University) and held it annually until 2008 as a key feature of its Urban Education Leadership Program. The program’s new Director is Brian K. Perkins, a Teachers College alumnus who served 11 years as a member of the Board of Education in New Haven, Connecticut, at a time when the board negotiated a path-breaking contract with the city’s teachers union.

“Critics of public education have drawn a target on the issues related to innovation in education policies and practice,” Perkins said. “The conference will deal with both the practical, nuts-and-bolts aspects of the conference theme and with its deeper historic, philosophic, and political roots. It will bring superintendents from around the country to engage in courageous conversations about current educational issues.”  

There is a particular sense of urgency underlying this year’s conference. As Federal Race to the Top funding winds down, local tax revenues have taken a dive, and states and municipalities are making severe cuts to education budgets, local superintendents have been thrust into high-profile positions in their communities. They are juggling deep funding decreases with previously signed pay agreements with teachers, mandates from local school boards to improve education quality, and widespread, national calls for education reform.

Here is a full list of conference presentations and speakers:

“Current Economic and Political Challenges”:  Daniel A. Domenech, Ph.D., executive director of the American Association of School Administrators. Domenech has more than 36 years of experience in public education, twenty-seven of those years served as a school superintendent in Deer Park and South Huntington, Long Island, New York. He taught sixth grade in South Jamaica, Queens, New York.

“Building a Teacher Evaluation System that Measures Performance and Supports Improvement”:  Rachel Curtis, who works with school systems, foundations, higher education and education policy organizations on urban district improvement strategy, superintendent and principal leadership development, and efforts to make teaching a compelling and rewarding career. She worked for the Boston Public Schools for 11 years.

“Building Professional Learning Communities”:  Ingrid Carney, Ph.D., founder and CEO of Carney for Kids Educational Consulting, which specializes in executive leadership coaching, school and district improvement, and the 10 Boys Initiative to close achievement gaps. Carney’s career in public education reform spans nearly 38 years. She was Deputy Superintendent for Clusters and School Leaders for Boston Public Schools, and she spent 30 years with the Chicago Public Schools as a teacher, team leader, effective schools facilitator, training center coordinator and principal.

“Greater Expectations”:  Brian K. Perkins, Ed.D., Director of the Urban Education Leadership Program at Teachers College, Columbia University in the Department of Organization and Leadership. Perkins is a former Chair and Professor of Education Law and Policy at Southern Connecticut State University in New Haven, Connecticut and former member of the research faculty at the Yale University School of Medicine. He served for 11 years on the New Haven Board of Education, four years on the Board of Directors of the National School Boards Association, two terms as national chair for CUBE: Council of Urban Boards of Education, and chaired the National Black Caucus of School Board Members.

“Rethinking Supervision and Evaluation”:  Kim Marshall, Ed.D., a former teacher, central office administrator, and principal in the Boston Public Schools for 32 years, he advises and coaches new principals (mostly with New Leaders for New Schools), teaches courses and conducts workshops on instructional leadership and time management, and publishes a weekly newsletter, the Marshall Memo, which summarizes ideas and research from 44 publications (

“Creating Partnerships: Family, School, and Community Engagement”:  Michele P. Brooks, Assistant Superintendent for Family and Student Engagement, Boston Public Schools. Prior to serving in this role, Brooks was the Principal Consultant for Transformative Solutions, an education consulting firm which focuses on organizational development, evaluation and program development for schools and school districts. She was the founding director of the Boston Parent Organizing Network and has served as a member of the Boston School Committee.

“Preparing for the Superintendency”:  Eliza Holcomb, president-elect, National Association of Superintendent Searchers and Senior Search Consultant, Connecticut Association for Boards of Education (CABE), where she has recruited superintendents  and other key administrators for urban and suburban schools. Holcomb is a former Employment Manager and Chief of Human Resources at MCA/Universal City Studios and former director of the Managers of Employment, Benefits and Training and Development for Universals’ Orlando, Florida theme park. Prior to joining Universal, Eliza was an Employment Recruiter at CBS, Inc.

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