It’s lonely at the top, as the saying goes – and principals and superintendents often feel particularly isolated as they carry the weight of a school or district on their shoulders.

So do those who prepare them – which is why Teachers College’s Education Leadership Program has convened an all-star advisory board of external partners ranging from a former U.S. Secretary of Education to an innovative Head of School just 10 blocks away.

“They can show us what’s going on out there,” says Mark Gooden, the Christian Johnson Endeavor Professor of Education Leadership. “And like it, love it or hate it, they will provide valuable perspective.”

They can show us what’s going on out there. And like it, love it or hate it, they will provide valuable perspective.

—Mark Gooden

Assembled earlier this year, the Advisory Board is composed of:  

  • Former TC Cahn Fellow Melessa Avery, Principal, P.S. 273, Brooklyn.
  • Martin Brooks, (Ed.D.), Executive Director, Tri-State Consortium, which developed an alternative assessment model designed to enhance student performance in school districts in New York, New Jersey and Connecticut.
  • Christopher Clouet (Ed.D ’96), Superintendent of Schools in Shelton, Connecticut.
  • Kristy DelaCruz, (M.Ed ’06, Ed.D. ‘17), Deputy Superintendent, New York City Department of Education.
  • John B. King, Jr., (Ed.D ’08), President and CEO of The Education Trust and former U.S. Secretary of Education.
  • Amani Reed (M.A. ‘07), Head of School, The School at Columbia.

“This group brings a diverse set of experiences and background to the table and that can only help our work here as we continue to develop and refine our programs for training people to take on leadership jobs,” says Education Leadership Programs Jeffrey Young, Professor of Practice in Education Leadership, and former Superintendent of Schools in Cambridge, Massachusetts, who is Director of TC's Education Leadership Program. “We are so fortunate that these remarkable leaders are giving their time to help strengthen our leadership programs.”

The Advisory Board exemplifies the marriage of theory and practice – a fundamental tenet of the Leadership program.

—Jeffrey Young

The panel is an outgrowth of the program’s membership within the University Council for Educational Administration (UCEA), co-founded in 1954 by TC Professor of Educational Administration E.B. Norton. Gooden served as UCEA president during his previous appointment as the Margie Gurley Seay Centennial Professor of Education at the University of Texas, Austin.

TC Education Leadership

THE TC TEAM From left: TC Education Leadership faculty members Jeffrey Young, Mark Gooden, Alex Bowers and Nancy Streim. Nicole Furlonge appears above. (Photo Credit: Steve Giegerich)

Currently headquartered at the University of Virginia, the UCEA promotes collaboration between PreK-12 and higher education on research and practices to advance and shape educational leadership at the local, state and national levels. The Board met at TC for the first time in January 2019, and will return to campus once a semester to confer with Leadership Program faculty, staff and students.

“The Advisory Board exemplifies the marriage of theory and practice – a fundamental tenet of the Leadership program,” said Young. “We believe that good research should inform effective practices in K-12 settings. Likewise, the problems of practice which the experts on the Board face each day should help shape the higher ed research agenda. Sometimes the two domains can be a little distant. We don’t always communicate that well. It’s important to break out of our silos and cross those boundaries. And that’s what the Board is all about.”