Cheryl King

Email Cheryl King

Cheryl King
Distinguished Scholar

Mailing Address: 

43 Foundry Avenue
Waltham, Massachusetts 02453-8313



Cheryl King brings experience in leading whole school system reform both as a practitioner (teacher, principal, chief academic officer, and deputy superintendent) and a researcher. Her life’s work has been dedicated to providing equal access to high-quality teaching and learning for all students, particularly students with special needs and those from low-income families. She currently directs several national projects that are focused on improving outcomes for chronically under-performing students.

Through generous funding from The Wallace Foundation, King's work over the past decade has focused on improving the effectiveness of urban school principal preparation and training, using a suite of Quality Measures™ tools and protocols developed under her leadership. Quality Measures™ tools use an evidence-based approach to guide a process of self-assessment to determine program rigor and effectiveness. She leads a national faculty of experts who work in partnership with large, urban school districts and principal preparation program providers across the country to conduct the assessment of programs and translate findings into new curriculum designs and pedagogical approaches to principal training.

King also leads a Wallace Foundation-funded National Training Provider/Graduate Principal Professional Learning Community (PLC) designed to improve the quality of districts’ principal preparation and training by regularly convening program providers and principals. The PLC represents a broad network of school districts, universities, and state departments of education from Colorado, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Maryland, and New York. As part of this work, she collaborates with various national organizations on issues related to education leadership, including: Southern Regional Education Board, Council of Chief State School Officers, the National Governors Association, New Leaders, National Institute for School Leadership, New York City Leadership Academy, the University of Illinois Chicago’s Urban Leadership Program, the University of Washington-Bothell, and the University Council on Education Administration.

Previously, as co-principal investigator and associate director of the National Center on Scaling Up Effective Schools (NCSU), King led an EDC team in providing leadership and technical support to selected high schools in Fort Worth Independent School District and Broward County Public Schools in the areas of capacity building, innovation design, implementation, and scale-up of research-based practices. King and her team published a series of three papers based on this work: Revisiting the Core Elements of Our Capacity Building Framework for Scaling School Reforms, Building System Capacity for Scale-Up, and Designing Innovations for Implementation at Scale.

King is the author of the Partnership Effectiveness Continuum, a research-based tool designed to support districts and training program providers in understanding the indicators of effective partnerships and Quality Measures: Principal Preparation Program Self-Assessment Toolkit. She is the co-author of a report, Districts Developing Leaders: Lessons Learned from Eight Urban School Districts, that is based on a national evaluation study that she led to examine the consumer approaches used by selected urban school districts to improve the quality of school leader preparation. She also co-authored the chapter “Models of Preparation for the Professions: Implications for Educational Leadership.”

King presented her work at the 2016 Carnegie Foundation Summit on Improvement in Education, and in 2015 she was invited to share her expertise with the IES School Leadership Technical Working Group. She regularly shares her findings at the Annual Convention of the University Council for Educational Administration.

Before joining EDC, King was Chief Academic Officer for Providence Public Schools in Rhode Island, Vice President for Education for a Massachusetts-based charter school firm, and Deputy Superintendent for Teaching and Learning in two urban school districts in Michigan. In those positions, she led aggressive reform agendas to turnaround the districts' lowest performing schools, including the mobilization of an entire community to support the adoption of high standards for student learning. She was named Administrator of the Year by the Michigan Association of School Counselors.

King received her BA from Aquinas College and her MA and PhD from Michigan State University. She is a graduate fellow of the Broad Urban Superintendents Academy, a Featherstone Scholar, and a graduate of Education Policy Fellowship Program and Leadership Michigan.