District leadership matters. There is a significant connection between superintendents’ executive leadership abilities and student performance. Great district leaders drive continuous improvement in teaching and learning, while also creating organizational cultures conducive to real change and innovation.

Executive leaders shape, steer, and influence change

Making strong school systems requires educational leaders who can overcome the barriers to school and district progress. CTAC builds the capacity of executive leaders to use educational, organizational, and political levers to drive innovation in the schools to the direct benefit of students.

  • Educational levers focus on building district-wide understanding of key strategies, making the transition from “adopting models” to “changing systems,” and ensuring student learning is both the driver and end result of district initiatives.
  • Organizational levers focus on overcoming organizational silos, balancing rigorous objectives with organizational realities, and developing mechanisms for making informed mid-course corrections.
  • Political levers focus on tapping the power of convening as a core part of improvement efforts, building constituent support and buy-in, and creating two-way communications strategies that are vigilant and multi-tiered.

Executive service areas

Designed by executives for executives. CTAC’s services are led by executives with both field-based expertise and successful leadership experience across sectors. We focus on deepening superintendents’ executive leadership capacities as they address pressing problems of practice. We provide practical counsel to superintendents who have the courage and commitment to address the fundamental challenges impeding district progress.

  • Executive Assistance: We build the capacity of district leaders to anticipate and probe the most serious challenges affecting schools. CTAC provides superintendents with specialized assistance as they address the nuances and intricacies of leading people through change at school, district and community levels.
  • District Rapid Response Capabilities: Our capacity building strengthens the district in developing a suite of coherent, rapid response services to help schools in need. CTAC enhances the ability of district leaders to anticipate and probe the most serious needs that are emerging from the schools. This assistance increases the ability of the district to identify and set priorities on which services it can most effectively provide, or secure, in response to these needs and within tight timelines. The goal is to move the central office from a compliance focus to a responsive service center.
  • Leadership Team Building: CTAC helps superintendents to develop a strong base of leadership at the district and in the schools. This means creating a team of leaders united in vision, with open communication and collaboration. We build the capacity of leaders to align the functions of every school and every department towards those issues most crucial to improving student achievement.
  • Leadership Forums: CTAC engages leading superintendents in monthly sessions on guiding districts during times of uncertainty. The forums are an opportunity for superintendents to build community with other leaders and enhance their current leadership practice. The forums focus on connecting research to application, exploring executive leadership strategies across sectors, and developing solutions to complex education problems.

Significant experience in executive leadership development

From sustained, multi-year collaborations to large conventions, our assistance is targeted to the specific needs of the leaders of our partner districts and states.

  • Districts and States: CTAC has built the capacity of district executives and leadership teams in hundreds of districts and chief state school officers and state leadership teams in more than 40 states. We have been providing these executive leadership services for more than 43 years, with resultant increases in organizational innovation and effectiveness.
  • Kansas and Missouri Executive Leadership Forums: As part of the Regional 12 Comprehensive Center, the Executive Leadership Forums in both Kansas and Missouri build the capacity of leading superintendents to address critical challenges related to increasing student achievement, improving instruction, and addressing social and emotional learning needs exacerbated by the pandemic.
  • National Urban Reform Network: CTAC created and convened the National Urban Reform Network, a 15-city coalition of superintendents, corporate chief executives, school board members, teachers, principals, health and human service providers, parents, and community leaders, which informed and advanced federal policy on educational issues affecting urban families. Over three years, the increased capacity of leaders had a significant impact on the reauthorization of, respectively, the Elementary and Secondary Education Act and the Individuals with Disabilities in Education Act