Recognizing “Champions of Change” School Turnaround Leaders

Earlier today the White House welcomed more than 100 state, district, and school leaders and educators to honor 12 distinguished school turnaround leaders as “Champions of Change.”

Champions of Change logoThe educators were recognized for their roles in building a culture of high expectations, improving instruction, creating safe environments for learning, and fostering professional collaboration among many other notable efforts to elevate the quality of education in their schools.

Click here to see all the Champions of Change, or click on the names below:

Brett Bernard, Kansas City, KS

David Cicarella, Northford, CT

Kevin Gay, Hyden, KY

Jessica Gogerty, Des Moines, IA

Tanya Green, Baltimore, MD

Kristen Hayes, Washington D.C.

Carren Poff, Ontario, OR

Lusia Requenes, Kansas City, KS

David Romick, Dayton, OH

Linda St. Andre, Lewiston, ME

Wendell Waukau, Menominee, WI

Edward Wiest, Pryor, MT

Today’s event gave local leaders the opportunity to share their stories with colleagues from across the country, and included a briefing on the transformative efforts underway in struggling schools nationwide through the federal School Improvement Grants (SIG) program.

The SIG program invests in locally driven efforts to turn around our nation’s persistently lowest-performing schools. These schools are characterized by consecutive years of low attendance rates, low student achievement, low graduation rates, as well as high rates of staff turnover and student disciplinary action.

Read more stories about SIG schools and the improvements they are making.


  1. That extra interest and support fromtachers Saves lifes in the Deepest parts of broken neighborhoods where school is the only place that says you can make it be anything in spite of your enviroment stress factore Education reassures that hope can be restored

  2. I had the privelege of working with Mr. Waukau both as a colleague and in my work as a SEA consultant. He works to keep kids in school and in the heart of his community – we need more administrators like him!

  3. Thanks to our Wonderful Teachers and their Support structures! What an accomplishment to help “turnaround” something into wonderful improvements from which our Students, Schools and Communities can benefit and Grow! It is enough of a challenge to teach in even the most ideal circumstances. It is so encouraging that you deal with so many negative circumstances and still manage to have positive outcomes! Thanks for not giving up on our students! Congratulations to these White House Champions of Change! Thank you for your sacrifice, vision and dedication! Brenda Martin, White House Champion of Change.

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