Richard Laine Named Director of Education Programs

April 01, 2003

Richard Laine Named Director of Education Programs


New York, NY, April 1, 2003 – The Wallace Foundation has named Richard Laine, who joined the foundation in December 2002 as deputy director of Education Programs, to the position of director of Education Programs, effective immediately. Laine will direct the Foundation's national LEADERS Count initiative aimed at strengthening the ability of education leadership to improve student achievement. He replaces Mary Lee Fitzgerald, who launched the initiative in 2000 and retired as director of Education Programs on April 1.

“Leadership is a critical factor in school reform efforts,” said M. Christine DeVita, president of The Wallace Foundation. “With his extensive background in state policy and education reform, Richard is well qualified to continue to lead the Foundation's work with states and school districts across the country that are demonstrating how leadership can improve student achievement. I am grateful for the work of Mary Lee Fitzgerald, who began this work in 2000 after a remarkable career as an educational leader at the school, district and state level, and am confident that the effectiveness of the Funds’ programs will continue to grow under Richard's leadership.”

“I am excited about the opportunity to build on the momentum of LEADERS Count,” said Richard Laine. “We will continue to work closely with the field and to increase the understanding about how leadership can enable every child to achieve high standards. Now is the right time to shift more of our attention to the necessary changes in conditions in which leaders work and to find ways to impact significantly more children than our direct investments will touch.”

Previously, Laine was director of Education Policy and Initiatives at the Illinois Business Roundtable, where he participated in Illinois’ State Action Education Leadership Project (SAELP), an initiative funded by The Wallace Foundation to develop state policy that more effectively prepares, supports and sustains education leadership. He also provided leadership to Illinois’ Baldrige in Education Initiative and was instrumental in bringing a stronger focus on using data to improve student learning and involving the business community to improve public education.

From 1994 to 1999, Laine was the associate superintendent for Policy, Planning and Resource Management at the Illinois State Board of Education, where he managed more than $600 million in grant programs and developed the agency's research, evaluation and policy agenda. He led the co-development of the Illinois Learning Standards and “Project Jumpstart” to assist low-achieving schools, and co-authored the Illinois Standards-Based Assessment Program Report. Additionally, he represented the agency on the 1995-96 Governor's Commission on School Funding; and co-authored the 1994 Quality Schools Initiative, the state's blueprint for improvement.

Previously, Laine served as executive director of the Coalition for Educational Rights in Chicago, a collaborative of organizations created to achieve the goals of adequate and equitable funding for all Illinois schoolchildren. In 1992-94, Laine was executive secretary of the Committee for Educational Rights in Chicago, which brought the Illinois school funding lawsuit to the state supreme court.

He is a member of numerous boards and committees in the Chicago area; has written extensively for such publications as Review of Education Research, Educational Leadership, and Journal of Education Finance; and testified in the U.S. Congress this summer on the new federal No Child Left Behind Act.

Laine received an M.B.A. and an M.A. in public policy from the University of Chicago, where he has also completed a Certificate of Advanced Study in Educational Administration and Policy. He has a B.A. degree from the University of California at Santa Barbara.

Laine succeeds Mary Lee Fitzgerald, who came to The Wallace Foundation in 1999 and, the following year, launched the Foundation's five-year, $150 million LEADERS Count initiative to improve school leadership. Dr. Fitzgerald’s distinguished career in public education includes teaching in Colorado, Kansas and New Jersey and serving as an elementary school principal, assistant superintendent, superintendent (Montclair, NJ), New Jersey Commissioner of Education, and Senior Fellow at the New Jersey Institute for School Innovation.

LEADERS Count is a national initiative aimed at strengthening education leadership to improve student achievement, especially in high-need areas. Through a variety of policy, programmatic, communications and research strategies, LEADERS Count seeks to enhance the knowledge and skills of school leaders and to improve the quality of the school systems in which they work.