In 2019, only 4% of Massachusetts school superintendents were people of color, while 40% of the students served by public school districts were people of color. In the fall of 2019 in partnership with the Leadership Academy, DESE launched Influence 100 to increase the racial and ethnic diversity of superintendents in Massachusetts, create more culturally responsive districts and leaders across the Commonwealth, and promote better outcomes for students. Since the program's inception, the number of superintendents of color has steadily increased to over 7% in 2023.
Districts select rising leaders to participate in a 2-year fellowship to prepare for superintendent roles through monthly training and ongoing support in the key aspects of the superintendency, with a particular focus on equity.
Leadership Academy Influence 100 Overview
Superintendents and school committees with participating fellows agree to participate in professional development and technical assistance with DESE and the Leadership Academy to enhance their strategic planning for equity.
Applications for new districts interested in joining Cohort 5 are now open! The Department will select up to 15 districts and 25 fellows for Cohort 5, which will join the network of 34 districts and collaboratives and 75 fellows in the first four Cohorts. Selected districts will identify up to two staff members to participate in the fellowship program, with guidance and criteria provided by DESE. This is a no-cost opportunity to districts. If selected, participating fellows receive a small stipend from DESE.
The first cohort comprises 26 fellows from 15 districts. 92% are people of color, 42% are current principals, and 58% are central office leaders.
SY2019-2020 Influence 100 Fellow Bios (at time of selection)
The second cohort comprises 20 fellows from 12 districts. 80% are people of color, 40% are current principals/assistant principals, and 60% are central office leaders.
SY2020-2021 Influence 100 Fellow Bios (at time of selection)
The third cohort comprises 20 fellows from 12 districts. 75% are people of color, 50% are current principals/ assistant principals, and 50% are central office leaders.
SY2021-2022 Influence 100 Fellow Bios (at time of selection)
Key findings from a third-party evaluation of the first three years of the Influence 100 Program include:
Influence 100 2021 Year-end Report (August 2021)
Last Updated: March 16, 2023
Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education
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