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Systems Leadership for Equity Part 2: Stakeholder Engagement and Community Building

Friday, March 18, 2022 @ 12:00 pm - 1:00 pm EDT

Systems Leadership for Equity Part 2: Stakeholder Engagement and Community Building

Presented by a panel of Emeritus Superintendents: Dr. Donna Wright,  Dr. Kathleen Smith, and Dr. Jeanette Vesely
Moderated by Kimberley Harrington Markus, Chief Education Officer, ERDI

Hosted by ERDI
Sponsored by D2L

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.

Watch 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 2, the panel discusses hosting forums and opportunities for us to listen to the students, parents, and members of our school communities.

  • How do we engage others and avoid a forum for extreme or toxic rhetoric?
  • How do we engage the heart of the community rather than the vocal outliers?
  • How do we champion a climate and culture of equity?
  • How do we make equity part of organizational DNA that doesn’t change with a board election cycle?

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

View the recording of Part 1 here:
Systems Leadership for Equity Part 1: Belonging and Support for Equity


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.

Kathleen Smith, J.D.Kathleen Smith, J.D., Superintendent Emeritus, Brockton Public Schools, MA – Kathleen Smith, JD was named the first female Superintendent of the Brockton Public Schools from 2013 until 2019. She has collaborated with top, elected state leaders in concert with community partners to adopt schools and classrooms, and offer in-kind and other services to bridge and fill financial and other gaps for Brockton’s close to 18,000 students and 3,400 faculty, staff and administrators. Her advocacy resulted in updated legislation, aptly named the 2019 Student Opportunity Act. Superintendent Smith was a VIP Delegate and Presenter with the RTM Business Group, a Superintendent Emeritus and former member of the Education, Research and Development Institute (ERDI), and a former board member of the Renaissance Learning Advisory Board. She was also Co-Chair of the Massachusetts Urban Superintendents Network. She served on the boards of directors of organizations including the DJ Dream Fund, the MetroSouth Chamber of Commerce, the Children’s Museum in Easton and the Brockton Area Workforce Investment Board. She received a leadership award from the Massachusetts Association of School Superintendents in 2018 and received the 2019 Grow Hope Foundation award for service to the Brockton community. She was employed in the Brockton Public Schools for 42 years, as an elementary school special education and Title I teacher, a school adjustment counselor, a Communities and Schools for Career Success entrepreneur, an MCAS manager and Director of Community Schools, and a visiting professor teaching Education and the Law through Fitchburg State University. Superintendent Smith continued serving school districts in Massachusetts following her official retirement in Brockton as the Interim Superintendent of Salem Public Schools, Interim Superintendent of Weymouth Public Schools, and presently serving as the Interim Superintendent of the Public Schools of Dover and Sherborn.

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.

Kimberley Harrington Markus

About the Moderator

Kimberley Harrington Markus, Chief Education Officer for the Education Research and Development Institute (ERDI), is a former New Jersey Commissioner of Education and is a recently retired educator of 30 years. Kimberley is known for her work advocating for students and serving the educators, parents, and community members supporting them. She believes the student voice must be at the forefront of every conversation in order for students to grow academically, emotionally, and physically to reach their maximum potential. Kimberley worked as a classroom teacher in New Jersey for 16 years and taught all grades from kindergarten to eighth grade. She then served three years as director of curriculum and instruction. Finally, she served as the Chief Academic Officer at the New Jersey Department of Education (NJDOE) prior to her role as the Commissioner of Education. Kimberley has been recognized with many awards including: the Governor’s Award for Outstanding Lifetime Contribution to Arts Education, EdTech Hero Award, Boyer Outstanding Educator Award, and the College of New Jersey Advocacy Award. She earned a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Elementary Education from Gordon College and a Master of Arts in Education Leadership from The College of New Jersey. She is currently a doctoral candidate at Saint Peter’s University.

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.

D2LD2L, creators of the Brightspace Learning Management System (LMS), provides a platform that transforms the learning experience. Brightspace supports flexible learning environments such as virtual, blended, and personalized learning for both students and teachers. We partner with schools to provide customized solutions ensuring ease of use and success in your LMS!


Friday, March 18, 2022
12:00 pm - 1:00 pm EDT
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