Several readers asked for more information about the Broad Superintendents Academy. In a sense, information is scarce, since it has no printed curriculum, nor any published description of its course of study. However, there is plentiful information about its graduates, who are found in many of the nation’s urban districts and state education departments. It is important to recognize that this “academy” has no accreditation nor standing with any state or federal or private agency. It was invented by the Eli and Edythe Broad Foundation to train future superintendents about Eli Broad’s theories of management. The Broad Foundation, for example, has encouraged school closings, both to save money and to make way for charter schools.

The author of the following post, Sharon R. Higgins, is a parent activist in Oakland, California, who has followed the Broad Academy with great interest after the foundation essential took control of the Oakland public schools. Higgins has a blog called “The Broad Report.” Here is an update on some of the more controversial graduates of the Broad “Academy.”


By Sharon R. Higgins


The uncertified Broad Superintendents Academy (BSA) has been producing graduates since 2002. Through 2011 the Broad Center issued press releases biannually which announced the incoming participants and then graduates of each year’s cohort. Although the Broad Superintendents Academy invited individuals to apply to its program in 2012 and 2013, press releases are no longer issued and the names of recent participants are not known.

Another interesting shift to note is that the adjective “prestigious” is being used less and less by reporters when describing the Broad Superintendents Academy, and the adjective “controversial” is being used more and more.
A list of all known BSA graduates is here.
Jean-Claude Brizard (BSA Class of 2007)
In February 2011, teachers of Rochester City School District (New York) overwhelmingly voted “no confidence” in Superintendent Jean-Claude Brizard. This was the first time in the history of the district that such a vote had been conducted. Rochester’s Community Coalition for Educational Change also declared “no confidence” in the superintendent. Brizard announced his resignation two months later.
In May 2011, Brizard was hired by Mayor Rahm Emanuel as CEO of Chicago Public Schools, but resigned just seventeen months later after the end of the city’s first teachers strike in a quarter century. Brizard currently works for The College Board.
Randolph Bynum (BSA Class of 2007)
In July 2013, Superintendent Randolph Bynum resigned from the Sumter School District (South Carolina) after two tumultuous years. The day before his resignation, 700 people attended a district meeting to voice their opposition against him. The complaints related to the removal of teachers at Sumter High School, community relations, numerous employee issues, morale, and more.
Arnold Woodrow “Woody” Carter (BSA Class of 2002)
In March 2009, the Capistrano Unified School District (California) school board unanimously voted to fire Superintendent Arnold Woodrow “Woody” Carter for “material breach of contract.” Carter then twice attempted to sue the district, but Orange County judges dismissed both cases.
Carter had been involved with other problems. In 2003, a parent sued over a secret meeting held by the Bourbon County Board of Education (Kentucky) where details of Carter’s move from superintendent to consultant were discussed. A judge stopped payment on the contract, but Carter challenged. The case eventually ended up in the Kentucky Supreme Court which ruled in 2012 that the district did not owe Carter because the financial deal had been made in an illegal closed-door meeting.
In 2006, when superintendent of the Fairfield-Suisun Unified School District (California), Carter also came under fire for displaying “… to 85 district administrators an image of a ‘ladies Swiss Army knife’ containing attachments including a tampon and a phallus-like vibrator.”
John Covington (BSA Class of 2008)
In August 2011, and without explanation, Superintendent John Covington abruptly resigned as head of Kansas City Public Schools (Missouri). He had held the position for only two years. Shortly after his resignation, news emerged that Covington was the sole candidate for a higher-paying job as head of Michigan’s Education Achievement Authority.
One board member later claimed that Covington had manufactured a dispute with the board president so he could renege on his contract. Also, one month after Covington’s resignation, the district lost its state accreditation, in part because of unstable leadership.
John Deasy (BSA Class of 2006)
In May 2006, the board of Prince George’s County Public Schools (Maryland) thought it was finally going to get a long-term superintendent when they hired John Deasy, but by September 2008 he was being investigated for having improperly received his doctorate. Deasy resigned three weeks later but was immediately hired by the Gates Foundation.
In June 2010 Deasy was hired by Los Angeles Unified School District as deputy superintendent, although questions lingered about his resume. Then in January 2011, Deasy was promoted to superintendent of LAUSD, “without so much as a job interview.”
Maria Goodloe-Johnson (BSA Class of 2003)
In 2003, Maria Goodloe-Johnson was hired as superintendent of Charleston County School District (South Carolina) while undergoing her Broad Superintendents Academy training. In June 2007, she took the job as superintendent of Seattle Public Schools (Washington).
Deep dissatisfaction with proposed budget cuts, new tests for students, a new teacher-evaluation system, and findings in a state audit led Seattle’s public-school teachers and other district employees to vote “no-confidence” in Goodloe-Johnson in 2010. The. A few months later it was learned that Goodloe-Johnson’s director of research, Brad Bernatek (a participant in the Broad Center’s residency program) had intentionallyissued false statistics to underestimate students’ college-readiness.
In March 2011, a $1.8 million financial scandal rocked Seattle Public Schools and led to a unanimous vote by the Seattle school board to fire Goodloe-Johnson and her chief financial officer. Blog reports produced by two Seattle parents served as important source of information during Goodloe-Johnson’s controversial tenure.
After she was fired, Goodloe-Johnson was hired by John Covington (BSA Class of 2008), head of Michigan’s Education Achievement System, to be his top academic officer.
Goodloe-Johnson passed away in December 2012.
Pete Gorman (BSA Class of 2004)
In June 2011, after five years as superintendent of Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools (North Carolina), Pete Gorman resigned, having taken a job at Amplify, a newly created education division of News Corp, Rupert Murdoch’s media company.
During his time at CMS, Gorman was challenged by parents over a new costly and expanded testing program. He was also criticized by local civil rights activists, including the president of the local chapter of the NAACP when Gorman scheduled a snow makeup day on Martin Luther King, Jr. Day.
Edmond Heatley (BSA Class of 2008)
In August 2012, Edmond Heatley unexpectedly resigned as superintendent of Clayton County Public Schools (Georgia), explaining that he had accepted an unspecified job elsewhere. During a tumultuous three years, Heatley angered parents by pushing through an early release day without a public hearing. He also allowed his wife and two children to be on the district’s payroll. Some parents had even threatened to contact the state Professional Standards Commission with a list of ethical concerns.
It turned out that at the time of his resignation, Heatley was the sole finalist for superintendent of Berkeley Unified School District (California). Berkeley teachers and parents launched heated criticism of Heatley’s Broad Superintendents Academy training, his management style, and his role in the passage of a resolution in support of Proposition 8 when he was superintendent in San Bernardino County’s Chino Valley school district. Heatley withdrew his candidacy in September 2012.
In June 2013, sources reported that outgoing Superintendent Thelma Melendez de Santa Ana, who had unexpectedly announced her retirement from the Santa Ana Unified School District (California), was pushing her school board to hire the “controversial” Heatley as her replacement. He was not selected for the position.
LaVonne Sheffield (BSA Class of 2002)
In July 2009, LaVonne Sheffield became the superintendent of Rockford Public Schools (Illinois) after working for the Recovery School District in Baton Rouge, becoming the district’s seventh leader in 11 years. Paul Vallas, who had hired Sheffield as his chief accountability officer in Philadelphia and also worked with her in Louisiana, was involved with the school board’s superintendent search behind the scenes.
By December 2009, a group of students and parents were demanding Sheffield’s resignation and social media was being used as an organizing tool for the protests. Clashes with parents, students, employee unions and the Rockford School Board “reached a crescendo over major spending reductions, personnel changes and school closures” leading to Sheffield’s resignation in April 2011.
Sheffield has been working at Jobs for the Future, a Boston-based nonprofit, since May 2011.
Anthony “Tony” Tata (BSA Class of 2009)
Anthony “Tony” Tata was hired by DC Public Schools Chancellor Michelle Rhee to be her Chief Operating Officer as he was undergoing his Broad Superintendents Academy training in 2009. A retired Army brigadier general, Tata was also a conservative pundit who once said that former Alaska governor Sara Palin is “precisely the kind of leader America needs.” Tata unexpectedly resigned from DCPS in December 2010, two months after Rhee’s resignation.
Immediately, Tata was hired as superintendent of Wake County Public School System (WCPSS) in North Carolina. The previous summer, the district’s conservative Republican-controlled school board had eliminated educational and experience requirements for superintendents. Tata introduced a choice-based student assignment plan, ending the county’s nationally recognized socio-economic diversity policy, a move protested by parents and the local chapter of the NAACP.
By September 2012, the control of the WCPSS board had shifted to Democratic, and Tata was fired after less than 20 months on the job. Some of the board members called him “a polarizing figure.” In December 2012, the board voted to drop the choice-based student assignment plan. More details about Tata’s tenure in Wake County are here.
Tata was appointed Secretary of the North Carolina Department of Transportation in January 2013.