Giving Compass’ Take:
• The Future Chiefs program prepares promising education leaders — mostly people of color and women — to lead state and large-district schools and to improve education systems.
• What role can donors play in helping diversify education leadership pipelines?
• Read more about supporting educator diversity.
Education is one of America’s most female-dominated professions, yet the sweeping majority of school systems are led by white men. Often, the reasons are subtle. Sometimes, they’re not.
One not-so-subtle moment happened at the July 14 meeting of the Sarasota County School Board, where several members proceeded to explain why they were eliminating the sole female finalist, Marie Izquierdo, from consideration as superintendent.
“I think she’s delightful,” one member explained. “I think she’s wonderful. She was definitely in my top two until she told me that she would not be bringing her husband or daughter for a couple of years, and that was a non-starter for me. Because I think that we need a committed superintendent that will be here, will be involved in the community, but will have family along with he or she.” Another member offered her own understanding that Izquierdo’s daughter is a high school junior — but said, “I want somebody who is 100 percent totally committed to our community.”
My organization supported Izquierdo, along with two of the other five finalists — both of whom were men — and we were disappointed when none of the three got the job. But this isn’t about that disappointment, nor is it a knock on the well-qualified Brennan Asplen III, who was selected for the role. It’s about patterns of gender bias in the selection of superintendents across the nation.
Our Future Chiefs program prepares promising education leaders — largely people of color and women — to lead state and large-district school systems. Among the leaders we’ve supported are four men who had to leave family members behind when they took jobs across the country. Not one of them faced questions about their commitment, or whether they could handle the dual responsibilities of chief executive and faraway parent. In fact, the topic was never raised in their interview and selection processes — not even once.
Read the full article about education leadership pipelines by Julia Rafal-Baer at The 74.
If you are looking for more articles and resources for North America, take a look at these Giving Compass selections related to impact giving and North America.
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