Continuing Our Journey in 2024
As we boldly embrace the arrival of another new year, I am filled with gratitude for the progress we have made and excitement for what lies ahead. Together, we’ve journeyed through a remarkable year of professional growth and resilience. Happy New Year and welcome to 2024!
One of the most gratifying things for me over the past year has been seeing the impact that collaborative learning, networking, and data can make for women in education leadership. Following a recent session of our Women Superintendents’ Policy Leadership Academy (WSPLA), I had the opportunity to talk to Deb Smith, Superintendent of the Fremont County School District on the Wind River Indian Reservation in Wyoming. I was moved as she shared with me the impact that the WSPLA network has had in encouraging her to further use her voice in policy leadership on behalf of her reservation, her schools, and her community. Her words made me want to do more to increase the visibility of, and support to, women leading selflessly in the equity space on behalf of our nation’s children.
For me, every new year is an opportunity to reflect on challenges and accomplishments, while re-focusing on the mission that drives us. Voice4Equity accomplished a number of key milestones in our staffing and capacity, policy leadership programming and technical innovation:
- We doubled participation in our two national keystone programs – the H.S. Girls Policy Leadership Network (GPN) and the Women Superintendents’ Policy Leadership Academy (WSPLA);
- We sold out our inaugural When Women Lead education summit, engaging over three days with more than 200 women in education leadership roles.
- We launched The Flamboyan Network (TFN), a private online network designed by women, for women, and focused on equity, policy and peer collaboration;
- We received Woman, Minority Owned status from both the state of Washington and the U.S. SBA (of the mere 20% of businesses in the U.S. that are led by women, only 20% of these businesses are led by women of color).
- We expanded our team with two amazing Superintendents in Residents: Dr. Alicia Thompson, retired Superintendent of Wichita Public Schools who brings leadership voice from one of our large urban centers; and Teresa Chaulk, Superintendent Lincoln County School District #1 in Wyoming – bringing in the rural educator voice;
- We established a ten-member Advisory Board of leading women Superintendents in the nation;
- We developed a new data platform that supports analytics across the education leadership spectrum at state and district levels.
In 2024, we are building on these successes, prioritizing three key focus areas:
- Data and research partnerships that add value to our mission
- Public release of our AI-powered Education Leadership Data Platform
- Direct engagement on and advocacy for specific policy issues of importance to women and leaders of color
You will see our focus on policy issues in this month’s newsletter, with an exciting discussion on AI and STEM with DeNelle West, Chief Learning Officer of Gwinnett County Public Schools. Also, look for exciting announcements around technology, data, and research!
What can you do now? If you are a woman in education leadership, then register to attend When Women Lead! Registration is open and the hotels are filling up! Are you an ally for gender and racial equity? Then give an empowering gift to women Principals and Central Office leaders on your team and support their attendance at this one-of-a-kind event.
I am profoundly grateful for your participation in this journey. Whether you engage with us as a newsletter reader, a member of The Flamboyan Network, an ally, a corporate sponsor, your ongoing support is vital to advancing the movement toward a more equitable future.
The team at Voice4Equity wishes you a joyous transition into the new year!