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Strategic Initiatives

Influence 100

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 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 8% in 2024.

Program Overview

Districts select rising leaders to participate in a two-year fellowship to prepare for the superintendent role through monthly training and ongoing support in key aspects of the superintendency, with a particular focus on equity.

Superintendents and a school committee member agree to participate with the Influence 100 fellow(s) in professional development and technical assistance with DESE to enhance their strategic planning for equity.

Application Process

For districts interested in joining Cohort 6, the application is now open! The Department will select up to 25 districts and 25 fellows for Cohort 6, which will join the network of over 100 fellows. Districts may identify up to two leaders in a principalship or district leadership position to participate in the fellowship program. This is a no-cost opportunity to districts. If selected, participating fellows receive a small stipend from DESE.

The application will close once all Cohort 6 Fellows have been selected. Once applications have closed, districts will be scheduled to take part in an interview for the fellowship. The interview will take an hour. Both the superintendent and fellow(s) must be present. All interviews will be completed by the end of July 2024.

DESE will notify all applicants on August 15, 2024, or earlier if they have been selected.

Program Highlights

  • Over 100 fellows have now been trained by Influence 100. Click on the link below to see bios of the 2024 graduating fellows.
  • Fellows now participate in the Partners in Equity Leadership Conference and are given opportunities to attend the MASS and MASC annual conferences.
  • Fellows believe strengths of the program include having a community to talk with about equity and the opportunities to visit school districts to view and discuss equity work in action from the perspective of a superintendent.



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Last Updated: July 15, 2024

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Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education
135 Santilli Highway, Everett, MA 02149

Voice: (781) 338-3000
TTY: (800) 439-2370


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