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Systems Leadership for Equity Part 1: Belonging and Support for Equity

Friday, March 4, 2022 @ 12:00 pm - 1:00 pm EST

Systems Leadership for Equity Part 1: Belonging and Support for Equity

Presented by a Panel of Emeritus Superintendents: Dr. Donna Wright; Dr. Steve Green; Dr. Jeanette Vesely; Dr. Doug Wilson; Dr. Rick Miller; and Dr. Russell Booker
Moderated by Dr. Jennifer Ferrari, CEO, ERDI

Hosted by ERDI
Sponsored by ClassLink

Watch the Recording Listen to the Podcast

Learn more about viewing the live presentation and the recording, earning your CE certificate, and using our new accessibility features.

In the fall of 2021, ERDI hosted a Thought Leadership Symposium on Systems Leadership for Equity where district and industry leaders and emeritus superintendents came together to address these issues, provide insight, and offer a way to frame conversations around equity, access, and diversity.

View for a two-part edLeader Panel with members of this group who discuss the results of their work and present a series of articles that are provided during the presentation. In Part 1, the panel discusses belonging and having courageous conversations. Belonging is the centerpiece of any education or formative experience. It gives us the “window” of opportunity we need to continue our equity work. In the current political climate, deep divisions have made “courageous conversation” difficult, but as educators, we are obligated to keep trying.

This recorded edLeader Panel is of interest to all educators and school leaders.

Register for Part 2 here.
March 18 at 12 – 1 p.m. Eastern Time
Systems Leadership for Equity Part 2: Stakeholder Engagement and Community Building


Donna Wright, Ed.D.About the Presenters

Donna Wright, Ed.D., Superintendent Emeritus, Wilson County Schools, TN – Dr. Wright has served in many roles in her 40-plus year career as an educator. She has positively influenced the educational field as a classroom teacher, assistant principal, principal, assistant superintendent, deputy director, and prior to being named as the Superintendent of Schools for Wilson County (TN) in 2014, served as the Deputy Superintendent in Williamson County and Knox County Schools in Tennessee. Dr. Wright earned her Doctorate in Leadership Studies from the University of Tennessee at Knoxville. She has been published in many educational journals, invited to present at national and state conferences, and served as Adjunct Professor at various institutions of higher learning. She has earned numerous awards, including the Women of Achievement Award and the Mt. Juliet Chamber of Commerce “Wilsonian of the Year” award in 2017. Dr. Wright was named “Superintendent of the Year” by the Professional Educators of Tennessee in 2016, selected as the “Superintendent of the Year” for 2019 by the Mid-Cumberland Region of the Tennessee Organization of School Superintendents, and most recently named the “2020 Tennessee Superintendent of the Year” by the Tennessee Organization of School Superintendents. Under Dr. Wright’s leadership, The Center for Digital Education and The National School Board Association recognized Wilson County Schools for its innovative use of technology for three consecutive years. Although Dr. Wright retired from public education this past year, she continues to work with colleagues and school districts throughout the state.

Stephen Green, Ed.D.Stephen Green, Ed.D., Superintendent Emeritus, DeKalb County, GA – Dr. Green was named Superintendent and CEO of the DeKalb County School District in July 2015 and led the district to achieving full accreditation and earning the highest CCRPI and graduation rates in the district’s history. Prior to this appointment, he was Superintendent and CEO of the Kansas City Public Schools, helping the district stave off state takeover and reach provisional accreditation. Dr. Green is the former president and CEO of Kauffman Scholars, Inc., a college-access and graduation program aimed significantly at increasing the number of college graduates from Kansas City’s urban schools. Before joining Kauffman Scholars, Inc., Dr. Green was the Superintendent of Community School District #28 and a Local Instructional Superintendent in Region 3 for the New York City Board of Education. Dr. Green also served as the President and Executive Director of the New Jersey Teaching and Learning Collaborative. Prior to this assignment, Dr. Green served as the National Executive Director for The College Board. During his time in Indiana, he served as Assistant Superintendent for the Lawrence Township Schools. He also taught undergraduate and graduate literature and composition at Indiana University, Ball State University, Butler University, Muncie Central High School and his alma mater, Pike High School.

Jeanette Vesely, Ed.D.Jeanette Vesely, Ed.D., Superintendent Emeritus, Kyrene School District, AZ – Dr. Vesely retired in 2021 after working 43 years in a variety of educational settings—as a teacher, principal, principal supervisor, executive director, education business leader, and assistant/deputy superintendent prior to becoming a superintendent in the Kyrene School District. Kyrene’s 26 schools are located in Phoenix, Chandler, Guadalupe, Tempe, and the Gila River Indian Reservation. Highlights of Kyrene School District accomplishments included the creation of a comprehensive school design focused on three components—academic excellence, responsive instruction, and student agency. Dr. Vesely was named one of Phoenix’s “Most Influential Leaders” of 2020. Prior to joining Kyrene, Dr. Vesely served as the Deputy Superintendent for the Sunnyside Unified School District in Tucson. During her tenure in Sunnyside, she led the development of the district’s five-year strategic plan and the opening of a new arts-integrated academy. Dr. Vesely also worked at Edison Schools and Pearson School Achievement Services as a Senior Vice President to lead the Achievement Services team responsible for school turnaround, improving student achievement through effective instruction with aligned utilization of data.

As a principal in Tucson Unified School District, Dr. Vesely was recognized as a school turnaround principal and honored by the Center for the Future of Arizona as a “Beat the Odds” high performing school. Dr. Vesely was also a former executive director of an education non-profit organization, Community Education Partners, charged with providing support and services to extend and enrich educational opportunities, serving more than 20,000 school-age children in the Tucson community annually.

Doug Wilson, Ed.D.Doug Wilson, Ed.D., Superintendent Emeritus, Marana USD, AZ – Dr. Wilson served as the Superintendent of Marana Unified School District from 2008 until his retirement in July 2020. He also served as Superintendent for the Agua Fria Union School District from 2002 to 2006. Dr. Wilson has served in a variety of leadership roles including Assistant Superintendent, Principal, Assistant Principal and now enjoys his time coaching current Superintendents across the U.S. Dr. Wilson was selected as the 2018 American Association of School Administrators (AASA) National Superintendent of the Year for Arizona by the Arizona School Administrators. He served on the ASBAIT Board of Trustees, as well as the WestEd Board of Directors having been appointed by the Arizona State Board of Education. Dr. Wilson has also served in a variety of capacities throughout Arizona, including President of the Arizona School Administrators Superintendents Division, Arizona Interscholastic Association, and the Arizona Coalition for Educational Excellence, Vice President of Tucson Values Teachers Board of Directors, and member of the YMCA Board of Directors Leadership Committee.

Rick Miller, Ph.D.; Ed.Sp.Rick Miller, Ph.D., Ed.Sp., Superintendent Emeritus, Santa Ana USD, CA – Dr. Miller has taught at the elementary and secondary levels and has been an elementary and high school principal. Dr. Miller served for 28 years as a school district superintendent. Most recently he has served in the Santa Ana Unified School District and Riverside Unified School District. The focus of his 40-year career as a school administrator has been on school reform and improved student achievement in diverse settings. He has also co-founded a collaborative assistance program for teachers and administrators and concentrated his organizational efforts on building more collaborative structures within our school organizations. Dr. Miller currently serves on a number of state and national advisory boards including: Consortium On Reaching Excellence in Education (CORE), Advisory Board; Latino Film Institute, Board of Directors; and the Lancer Educational Housing Corporation, Board of Directors. Dr. Miller has been recognized with a number of awards including: Mike Kneale Educational Excellence in Leadership Award; Community Service Award, Riverside NAACP; Honorary Doctorate of Letters, California Baptist University; Champion for Justice, Riverside County Fair Housing Council; and the 2008 Educational Leadership Award, University Council for Educational Administration, University of California Santa Barbara.

Dr. Russell BookerRussell Booker, Ph.D., Superintendent Emeritus, Spartanburg County School District, SC – Dr. Booker is Executive Director of Cradle to Career Network member Spartanburg Academic Movement in Spartanburg, South Carolina. With an unwavering conviction in the power of education, he believes our greatest hope for the future is to inspire and equip students for meaningful lives of leadership and service.

Dr. Booker served as Superintendent of Spartanburg County School District Seven, where he directed many progressive initiatives. Most notably, he led a total restructuring of the district, a complete digital immersion and a bold comprehensive capital plan. Dr. Booker began his tenure at District Seven in 2010 after serving as Superintendent in York School District One for three years.

Dr. Booker serves as Vice Chair of the Liberty Fellowship Board and is a past chair of the United Way of the Piedmont. He is a South Carolina Liberty Fellow (affiliate of the Aspen Global Leadership Network) and a graduate of the Diversity Leaders Initiative and the Spartanburg Regional Fellows program.

In 2013, Dr. Booker received the Whitney M. Young, Jr. Humanitarian Award from the Urban League of the Upstate. In 2015, Dr. Booker was named the South Carolina Superintendent of the Year by the South Carolina Association of School Administrators (SCASA) and was also named Superintendent of the Year by the South Carolina Athletic Administrators Association. He is a past president of SCASA’s Superintendents’ Division.

Dr. Booker received his Bachelor of Science degree from Wingate University and his doctorate from the University of South Carolina. He and his wife, Sheryl, live in Spartanburg with their two sons.

Jennifer FerrariAbout the Moderator

Dr. Jennifer Ferrari is the CEO and president of the Education Research and Development Institute (ERDI), which convenes education thought leaders to collaboratively shape, influence, and inform the development of preK-12 education products and services. Jennifer regularly engages in national dialogue about current problems of practice and is able to validate and verify emerging trends in education. Prior to her current role, she served as the VP and chief schools officer of an innovative education management organization nationally recognized for its trailblazing work in personalized learning. With 25 years of rich public education experience, Jennifer has strong expertise in leadership development, change management, curriculum and instruction, personalized learning, dual language, and strategic planning. Jennifer earned her doctorate in educational leadership and policy studies from Loyola University in Chicago.


Learn more about viewing the live presentation and the recording, earning your CE certificate, and using our new accessibility features.

Join the Leading for Equity community to network with educators, participate in online discussions, receive invitations to upcoming edWebinars, and view recordings of previous programs to earn CE certificates.

ERDIAt the Education Research and Development Institute (ERDI) we work to create a rich and meaningful forum for education leaders and solution providers to collaboratively discuss, design, and shape the products and services, which support PK-12 education. We are committed to ensuring that all students have access to the highest quality learning experiences, so that they will be productive, ready stewards of the future.


ClassLinkClassLink empowers your students and teachers with instant access to their learning resources. ClassLink® LaunchPad includes a library of over 6,000 single sign-on apps and instant links to file folders at school and on Google, Office 365, Dropbox, and Box cloud drives. ClassLink Roster Server easily and securely delivers class rosters to any publisher using open technology standards. ClassLink Analytics gives decision makers the usage data they need. ClassLink is ideal for 1 to1 and BYOD initiatives.



Friday, March 4, 2022
12:00 pm - 1:00 pm EST
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