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AASA partners with BFK to launch Portrait Academy

December 11, 2023

AASA, The School Superintendents Association, in partnership with Battelle for Kids (BFK), is excited to announce the Portrait of a Graduate Academy – a new program created to combine the strengths of two organizations to foster powerful learning opportunities for district leaders seeking a unified, collective vision for their students.  

Focusing on a learner-centered transformation, community engagement and comprehensive learning, this academy is designed for superintendents and their teams who are committed to ensuring their district’s goals are aligned with their community’s hopes and aspirations.  

“We are at a watershed moment in public education. There has never been a time more important than now when superintendents must transcend, lead and stay connected with colleagues nationwide,” said David R. Schuler, executive director, AASA. “Our partnership with Battelle for Kids represents an opportunity for superintendents—the nation’s foremost thought leaders in our field—to come together and strengthen themselves, their staff and their respective learning communities. Today’s announcement adds to the expansive work we’re doing to shape the trajectory for the future of public education.”  

BFK is a national, not-for-profit organization with the mission of realizing the power and promise of 21st-century deeper learning for every student. Its Portrait of a Graduate design process engages the education system and the broader community—educators, students, elected officials, community members, families—to help district leaders build a unifying, collective vision for the students they serve. Bringing together these diverse perspectives is essential for enduring educational transformation.  

“Empowering districts to purposefully craft learning environments that focus on honing skills, fostering positive mindsets, and cultivating essential dispositions is the critical work we need to be doing in education today,” said Mike Duncan, president and chief executive officer, Battelle for Kids. “It’s crucial to remember that rigorous academic content is an integral part of this equation. Our goal with the Portrait of a Graduate is to construct learning environments that not only support student agency and the transfer of learning but also enable the creation of portfolios filled with compelling artifacts and evidence. This approach empowers students to vividly showcase their mastery of enduring skills.” 

This academy, which will be administered jointly by BFK and AASA’s Leadership Network, will symbolize an ideal platform for bringing about lasting education change in school districts large and small by: 

  • Defining the learning experience; 
  • Examining roles to promote the learning experience; 
  • Unpacking the Portrait competencies; 
  • Establishing design criteria; 
  • Designing the professional learning cycle; 
  • Building a system of balanced assessment; and 
  • Exploring required leadership skills and communications.  

For more information about AASA’s Portrait of a Graduate Academy, visit the AASA website or contact Mort Sherman, AASA senior associate executive director at, or Debbie Magee, AASA director of the Leadership Network, at

About AASA
AASA, The School Superintendents Association, founded in 1865, is the professional organization for more than 13,000 educational leaders in the United States and throughout the world. AASA’s mission is to support and develop effective school system leaders who are dedicated to equitable access for all students to the highest quality public education. For more information, visit

About Battelle for Kids
Battelle for Kids (BFK) is a national, not-for-profit organization with the mission of realizing the power and promise of 21st century deeper learning for every student. Our national network, EdLeader21, brings together innovative education systems to accelerate education transformation that results in deeper learning for every student. For more information, visit

Learn more about the AASA Portrait of a Graduate Academy