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EdLeader21 Announces New Advisory Committee Leadership

Tucson, AZ – September 14, 2017 – Today EdLeader21, the professional learning community (PLC) for leaders committed to 21st century education, announced new leadership appointments to the Advisory Committee. Superintendent of Virginia Beach City Public Schools Dr. Aaron Spence and Superintendent of Fort Thomas Independent Schools (KY) Dr. Karen Cheser have been named PLC Chair and Vice-Chair, respectively.

Dr. Spence became Virginia Beach Superintendent in 2014. As Superintendent, he oversees the operation of 86 schools (serving almost 68,000 students) as well as all administrative support functions for the school division. He returned to Virginia from having served most recently as Superintendent of Moore County Public Schools in North Carolina.

“I look forward to serving in the role of chair of the PLC,” said Spence. “The work being done by EdLeader21 and the Advisory Committee is crucial for preparing our students for the future. Having served as Vice-Chair I look forward to continuing to expand on the important work we are doing, especially as it relates to equity and the 4Cs."

Dr. Spence will be joined by Dr. Cheser. She brings many years of experience to the positon including most recently being the Deputy Superintendent and Chief Academic Officer of Boone County Schools, a KY Distinguished District of Innovation. She began her career in education in 1988 with positions that included teacher, coach, literacy and math specialist, principal, distinguished educator and district administrator. Prior to her years in education, she worked for Procter & Gamble Inc. in sales and brand management.

“I am excited to be a part of the PLC and to have the opportunity to share my experiences while learning from this seasoned group,” said Cheser. “Building community and providing opportunities for students is at the core of my mission for Fort Thomas and I will bring those values to this group.”

“We are so honored that Dr. Spence and Dr. Cheser have agreed to lead the Advisory Committee and will help carry out EdLeader21’s mission,” said EdLeader21 CEO Ken Kay. “They each bring a unique perspective which will benefit the organization and help move our important work of 21st century education forward.”

The EdLeader21 PLC Advisory Committee is made up of 19 members, each of whom serve a two-year term.

  • Phil Downs, Superintendent, Southwest Allen County Schools (IN)
  • Rich Fry, Superintendent, Big Spring School District  (PA)
  • Rob Glass, Superintendent, Bloomfield Hills Schools (IL)
  • Kathy Gomez, Superintendent, Evergreen School District (CA)
  • Jon Gundry, Superintendent, Santa Clara County Office of Education (CA)
  • Wanny Hersey, Founding Superintendent, Bullis Charter School (CA)
  • John Jungmann, Superintendent, Springfield Public Schools (MO)
  • Deb Kerr, Superintendent, School District of Brown Deer (WI)
  • Lynne Kovash, Superintendent, Moorhead Area Public Schools (MN)
  • Kym LeBlanc-Esparza, Superintendent, Newberg Public Schools (OR)
  • Michael McCormick, Superintendent, Val Verde Unified School District (CA)
  • Jim Merrill, Superintendent, Wake County Schools (NC)
  • Gail Pletnick, Superintendent, Dysart Unified School District (AZ)
  • Jennifer Rundles, Associate Dean of Teaching and Learning, Saint Mary’s School (NC)
  • Peter Sanchioni, Superintendent, Natick Public Schools  (MA)
  • Eric Schneider, Associate Superintendent, Minnetonka Public Schools (MN)
  • Dana West, Superintendent, Amarillo ISD (TX)


To learn more about EdLeader21, visit http://www.edleader21.com.


EdLeader21 is a professional learning community (PLC) of more than 190 schools and districts in the U.S. The PLC was founded in 2011 and is based in Tucson, Arizona. The PLC provides superintendents, heads of schools and their leadership teams the opportunity to work collaboratively on projects they deem important to their implementation of 21st century education and specifically the 4Cs. The PLC also provides members with helpful tools and resources for professional learning including webinars, blogs and an annual event that is now the single biggest yearly gathering of 21st century education practitioners. Follow EdLeader21’s leadership on twitter @kenkay21, @val_green and @EdLeader21.