Building Capacity for Accelerated Reform: The Fresno–Long Beach Learning Partnership as a Leadership Strategy

Helen Duffy, Jim Brown, Jennifer O'Day, & Stephanie Hannan

In order to move their organizations forward, many leaders are aware that they must have clearly defined goals, use data to measure progress toward those goals, adopt appropriate change management strategies, strengthen governance teams, and support the development of other leaders in the system. The superintendents of Fresno Unified School District and Long Beach Unified School District have established a unique partnership that they can leverage to deepen their own leadership practice and develop the leadership of others throughout their systems.

This second in a series of briefs on the Fresno-Long Beach Learning Partnership focuses on the leadership practices of Fresno Unified Superintendent Michael Hanson and Long Beach Unified Superintendent Christopher Steinhauser and the ways in which their partnership strengthens the strategies they employ. We describe the vision and commitments that serve as the initial foundation for their work together and suggest various ways that the Partnership enhances leadership practices in both districts. To do this, we draw upon analysis of data collected over nearly two years, including interviews with key district leaders and stakeholders outside of the districts, attendance at district meetings, and analyses of key district documents.

This brief highlights the ways the Partnership strengthens the following leadership practices:

  • Modeling a commitment to student learning
  • Creating high-quality professional learning opportunities for district leadership team members
  • Leveraging resources strategically
  • Using data to support continuous improvement