From the Frontline: The Superintendent Roundtable

Presented in Partnership with Chiefs for Change

Recorded May 28th, 2020

Share this event


Janice K. Jackson, EdD

Chief Executive Officer, Chicago Public Schools


Richard A. Carranza

Chancellor, New York City Department of Education


Dr. Kyla Johnson-Trammell

Superintendent, Oakland Unified School District


John E. Deasy, Ph.D.

Superintendent of Schools,
Stockton Unified School District


Alberto M. Carvalho

Superintendent, Miami-Dade County Public Schools


Mike Magee

Chief Executive Officer, Chiefs for Change



Helen Rekers

Chief of Staff, New Teacher Center (NTC)


Presenter & Panel Interviewer

Desmond Blackburn

CEO, New Teacher Center (NTC)

The Superintendent Roundtable

Presented in Partnership with Chiefs for Change

During this roundtable discussion, we discussed how district leaders across the country are addressing COVID-19.  Here were some of the key themes that surfaced during our conversation:


  • There were kids in crisis before this pandemic; the academic regression that we will be facing because of COVID-19 will target the most vulnerable, and we need to plan for that.
  • We can’t “rush back to normal” because the old “normal” wasn’t serving all youth. Inequity issues have been underlined for generations, and they’ve been laid bare because of COVID-19; everyone deserves a high quality education going forward.
  • As a learned lesson, we need to transition emergency regulations into urgency regulations (leaders need the ongoing permissions and systems in place to make sure every student is fed, to pass on emergency funding support to families in need, etc.)  



  • As heart wrenching and heartbreaking as COVID-19 is, a crisis brings out the resilience and hard work of many—from school leaders, educators, parents, custodians, to local businesses, and the community.
  • While nothing can replace a classroom experience, the emergency responses leaders have been forced to make prove that [school systems] are capable of doing so much more (for example, a rapid response to addressing the digital divide that has plagued education for years).
  • For those leading public education, they are leading the transition into the “new normal”- this is a learning moment for us all. 


Educator and Whole Child Support

  • Adults and students will need social-emotional learning (SEL) support this Fall, now more than ever. We need to have trauma-informed strategies in place. 
  • This crisis has turned almost all teachers into NEW teachers again, we need to hold compassion and grace for teachers to learn, and feel safe enough to try, fail, innovate, and try again. 
  • This crisis brings about opportunities to change the ways in which we support adults in schools and foster student learning. 
    1. We can build smarter systems that engage communities (for example, connecting teachers to a virtual network of support/collaboration). 
    2. We can put more emphasis on coaching teachers to provide more personalized individual support, even in a virtual setting.
  • Going forward, there is a lot of learning to take place around how we should modify curriculum, instruction, and assessment. 



  • We cannot underestimate the economic pandemic; public education budgets are being decimated, and without support, most schools in the United States cannot withstand. 
  • While this crisis provides an opportunity for us to refocus our approach to equity-based work, there is fear over the funding needed to execute. 
  • Call of action to our Nation’s leaders: liberate tech spending, modify FCC regulations to allow for efficient use of Erate, provide a federal response/stimulus—otherwise, COVID-19 will further implicate achievement and employment in this country.


Additional Resources

  • If you’re interested in learning more, or to hear from other expert voices in education, please join NTC’s Community of Practice at  
  • If you’re interested in accessing the latest reports and recommendations related to the reopening of schools, please visit