Wallace Funds Hold National Conference on School Leadership

June 28, 2002

National Conference To Explore Vital Role Leadership Plays in School Reform and Student Achievement

The Wallace Funds hold 3rd annual LEADERS COUNT conference in Fairfax County, VA, August 4-6, 2002

Superintendents and principals are increasingly accountable for improving student achievement, yet there is a critical shortage of leaders qualified and prepared to meet this challenge successfully. “Leadership for Learning,” the Wallace-Reader's Digest Funds’ third-annual LEADERS COUNT conference, will bring together experts in education, policy and research to address how school leaders can be most effective and what changes in policies, practices and preparation are required to help them succeed.

The conference begins on Sunday, August 4, 2002, at 5:00 p.m., and concludes on Tuesday, August 6, at 1:00 p.m., at the Westfields Marriott in Fairfax County, Virginia (10 minutes from Dulles Airport). 

James B. Hunt, former North Carolina Governor and director of the James B. Hunt Institute for Educational Leadership, will deliver the opening keynote: “Education Leadership: What a State Can – and Should – Do.” A conversation between Jack Jennings, Director of the Center on Education Policy, and a representative of the U.S. Department of Education, will consider the consequences of the new Federal “No Child Left Behind” Act on district and school leadership. Other participants include: Richard Rothstein, education columnist for The New York Times; Reginald Van Lee, Vice President & Managing Partner of Booz Allen & Hamilton; and Peggy Conlon, President & CEO of The Advertising Council.

Panel discussions pose four provocative questions: Can leadership be taught; Can leaders influence student learning; Whose leadership is required; and Why should the public care? Together, these questions will begin to draw out a portrait of quality leadership as instrumental to children learning and to the life of the community. Panelists include superintendents, principals, teacher union representatives, legislators, business and military leaders, researchers and professors, filmmakers and education journalists. Breakout discussions that follow will invite response to issues raised and challenges offered (see attached agenda for panel topics and speakers).

“Through a growing body of knowledge emerging from research and innovative practices in the education and policy arena, we are understanding more and more about what it takes for leadership to educate our children well," stated Mary Lee Fitzgerald, the Wallace Funds’ director of education programs. "We still need to know more. What are the next best steps? What will help us sharpen our understanding of how leadership can drive successful reform and what must change now, in this new climate of standards and accountability, to support these efforts?”

The Leadership for Learning conference is part of LEADERS COUNT, a 5-year commitment by the Wallace Funds to place quality leadership at the core of school reform and to build a new field of knowledge that helps improvements spread on a broader scale.