Jennifer Perry Cheatham, Ed.D.

As a faculty member at the Harvard Graduate School of Education and co-chair of the Public Education Leadership Project at Harvard, Jen teaches, writes, and speaks about system-level leadership with a focus on leading for equity.


Ed.D., Harvard University; Ed.M., Harvard University; M.A. in Education, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor; B.A. in English, DePaul University, Chicago.

With over twenty-five years of experience in the field of education, Jen has served as a teacher, teacher leader, professional developer, central office leader, area superintendent, and superintendent.

She held leadership roles in the San Diego Unified School District, Chicago Public Schools, and the Madison Metropolitan School District in Wisconsin, where she was superintendent for six and a half years. In each of these roles, she focused on creating instructional coherence, cultivating strong teams, designing systems for professional learning, and strengthening routines for organizational learning to ensure an excellent education for every child.

During her tenure as superintendent, she and her team established strong routines for continuous improvement at every level of the school system, strengthened the district’s core instructional program K-12, improved the district’s approach to family partnership which included design of their local approach to community schools, expanded options for post-secondary success with a focus on student-centered design, strengthened hiring and induction systems with a focus on diversity, and established powerful one-of-a-kind partnerships with a focus on research and innovation. Jennifer, in partnership with the community she served, also introduced a new, bolder agenda for the future grounded in a commitment to anti-racism, inclusion and alliance to children and families of color.

Jen is also motivated to do this work by her own beautiful family, especially her husband Reggie and son Theo (“Team Cheatham”), who have enhanced her life in countless ways.

Read My Book:

Entry-Planning for Equity-Focused Leaders: Empowering Schools and Communities

By Jennifer Perry Cheatham, Rodney Thomas, and Adam Parrott-Sheffer

A vital resource for educational leaders, Entry Planning for Equity-Focused Leaders introduces an equity-minded process for intentional entry planning that sets the stage for sustainable change within organizations.

Leadership Work

Learn more about my courses, including how to sign up for my professional course on leadership entry.

Learn more about the Public Education Leadership Project at Harvard and how to get involved.

Learn more about Entry Planning for Equity-Focused Leaders, including key tools and resources that might be useful to you.

Let’s explore how I might be useful to you in your own work.