Glenda Ritz, Indiana’s former Superintendent of Public Instruction, will soon work on education matters in a new role. She now leads Advancing Public Schools as president and CEO.
The company’s mission is “dedicated to advancing the nation’s public school system through partnerships with local school boards in the areas of advocacy and literacy,” according to their website.
“From my work at the state level, policy makers play a very important role in what we do in serving our children,” Ritz says. “So working with school boards seems like a very natural fit for me.”
Ritz ended her term as the Indiana’s top education official in January. During her single term as state superintendent, Ritz was the only Democrat in a statewide elected position and widely seen as a champion of public schools. She also chaired the Indiana State Board of Education. Before her elected role, Ritz was a school librarian.
“I’m a strong supporter of public schools and I want to still maintain that kind of role,” Ritz says. “I truly believe things happen at the local level.”
Ritz’s new company will assist school boards and districts by analyzing literacy support systems, identifying gaps and developing strategies to combat them.
Advancing Public Schools is set to launch in Indiana starting January 2018. Under Indiana Law, Ritz must observe a 365 day “cooling off period” where she may not accept compensation from public school districts over whom she had oversight as state superintendent. The group may service boards and districts outside of Indiana immediately.
“We’re in the marketing phase,” Ritz says.
Ritz’s term as state superintendent was marred with political conflicts with then-Gov. Mike Pence and Republican lawmakers. In a surprising upset, Jennifer McCormick, a Republican, beat Ritz for the state superintendent post during the November 2016 election.
Ritz isn’t alone in the move from education official to education consultant. Tony Bennett, the former state superintendent who preceded Ritz, registered as a lobbyist for the Indiana-based consulting company Standards for Success. That move followed his 2013 resignation as Florida Commissioner of Education amid controversy.
The Council of Chief State School Officers, the organization representing the nation’s state school chiefs, says they don’t track how often this move occurs.
On the district level, the AASA, The School Superintendents Association, lays out steps for its members to become educational consultants after their tenure. In a column, Joel Radin, a New York superintendent-turned-consultant, gives advice.
“Stop procrastinating and begin preparing for your new career as a consultant and speaker,” he says.