In August 2002, Melody Johnson, deputy manager of the Providence, Rhode Iceland, School District, hastily appointed acting superintendent, in the wake of the resignation of her predecessor and close associate of Diana Lam. Lam and Johnson had together begun on an ambitious reform plan to upgrade in the last three years, the low-power system. Despite some indicators of improvement, but knew that Johnson still considerable resistance to change as an e-… Read more »

In August 2002, Melody Johnson, deputy manager of the Providence, Rhode Iceland, School District, hastily appointed acting superintendent, in the wake of the resignation of her predecessor and close associate of Diana Lam. Lam and Johnson had together begun on an ambitious reform plan to upgrade in the last three years, the low-power system. Despite some indicators of improvement, but knew that Johnson down considerable resistance to the changes, as evidenced, in part, by a bitter contract dispute recently with the system of teachers. This case describes the challenge Melody Johnson, as they sought to win rank-and-file support for reforms in the immediate months after her appointment as superintendent in their own right. It focuses on concrete steps that they considered to win this support, without reforms, including radical, a day on which classes would be canceled so that they and others could speak to the teachers as a whole. These public guidance is designed to highlight the possibilities and techniques of “adaptive leadership” as described in the work of Kennedy School professor Ronald Heifetz, “Leadership Without Easy Answers” (Belknap Press, September 1994). See also Case # 1690.0. HKS case number 1,689.0
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Susan Rosegrant
Source: Video Supplement
41 minutes.
Release Date: 4 February 2011. Prod #: HKS580 VID ENG
Winning Hearts and Minds: Reforming the Providence School District: Superintendent Dr. Melody Johnson, 10 December 2002 (DVD Supplement) Review HBR case solution