An INspiring collaboration for Leaders forged by leaders


Take advantage of this learning and self-care journey. It’s hosted by Big Deal Media, in collaboration with an advisory board of stakeholders including respected superintendents from across the country. 



For more than two decades, Big Deal Media has been synonymous with identifying top-quality, groundbreaking content to enrich leading, learning, and teaching. Education professionals have pointed to the trust they have in its rich collection of free content and funding solutions and conveyed their confidence in sharing them with colleagues. It continues to grow through outreach to an ever-greater number of users, partners, and sponsors; refinements to an ebullient social media presence; and targeted development of one-of-a-kind educator events.

Marilyn Schutz

Marilyn Schutz

Founder and President, Big Deal Media

  • Decades-long track record as an editor, publisher, and entrepreneur
  • Held executive positions with Instructor magazine
  • Worked with hundreds of companies in the education sector, including technology companies, textbook publishers, supplemental materials publishers, equipment manufacturers, and service providers
  • Cofounded New York-based educational marketing organization
  • Created semiannual Big Deal Book of Technology and biweekly K-12 Technology newsletter for tech directors, coordinators, integrationists, media specialists, curriculum directors, and tech-savvy educators
  • Created the award-winning website, which includes more than 5,100 sources of grant and other funding opportunities and has more than 60,000 K-12 and higher education users
  • Created and hosts the annual Well-Being and Leadership Power TripTM for Women Superintendents and District Leaders


Kathleen Hurley

Kathleen Hurley

Lead Senior Advisor and Education Industry Champion

Kathy Hurley began as a classroom teacher. However, her long-ranging career in the education industry has taken her down many—and successful—paths in the service of administrators, teachers, and students. She is a sought-after national and international speaker on leadership; workplace diversity; and gender-equity issues; and serves as a senior industry advisor to several superintendent groups.

  • Executive positions with Pearson and IBM
  • Executive Vice President of Education Alliances for the Pearson Foundation
  • Fellow of the Advanced Leadership Initiative (ALI) at Harvard University
  • Cofounder of the nonprofit, Girls Thinking Global
  • Co-editor of Real Women, Real Leaders: Surviving and Succeeding in the Business World
  • Board member Center for Teaching Quality, the Concord Consortium, and Jason Learning, as well as the Advisory Board for the New York Academy of Sciences
  • Board member of three top organizations dedicated to educational technology: The Consortium for School Networking (CoSN), Software Information Industry Association (SIIA), and the National Coalition for Technology in Education and Training (NCTET)
Dr. Jennifer Ferrari

Dr. Jennifer Ferrari

President, Education Research and Development Institute (ERDI)

  • Served as vice president and Chief Schools Officer of Distinctive Schools (Chicago & Detroit)
  • Led Distinctive Schools five-year strategic planning process, supported principal leadership development and oversaw the comprehensive academic model
  • Former middle school teacher, assistant principal, principal, assistant superintendent and interim superintendent of North Shore School District 112 (IL)
  • Led and scaled comprehensive Dual Language and Personalized Learning initiatives
  • Skilled in leadership coaching, curriculum and instruction, and strategic planning
  • Facilitates local, state and national workshops
  • Founded the ERDI Women's Fellowship Network
  • Facilitates rich national dialog among top education leaders about current problems of practice in the PK-12
Dr. Jill Gildea

Dr. Jill Gildea

Superintendent, Park City School District (UT)

  • Former superintendent of Greenwich Public Schools (CT)
  • Former superintendent of Fremont School District (IL)
  • Held positions as superintendent, assistant superintendent, educational programs director, curriculum director, high school division administrator, elementary principal, and has taught in middle and high schools
  • Recognized as an exemplary educational leader for work in communications and fiscal management
  • Finalist for the National Association of School Superintendents (NASS) Superintendent of the Year award
  • National School Public Relations Association (NSPRA) 2013 Golden Achievement Award in Communications
  • Illinois Association of School Business Officials’ (IASBO) Meritorious Budget Award in Financial Budgeting for six consecutive years
Dr. Ann Levett

Dr. Ann Levett

Superintendent, Savannah-Chatham Public Schools (GA)

  • Former deputy superintendent and chief academic officer
  • Former deputy superintendent in Dayton, Ohio
  • Held higher education positions at Antioch University and the Yale School of Medicine
  • Managed grants and projects valued at more than $15 million
  • Coordinated school/university partnerships across the United States and its territories
  • Led school reform efforts in several European cities
  • Appointed to the Board of Education for New Haven Public Schools (2017)
  • Served as a board member for two New Haven charter schools
  • Served in several key positions at the state level and maintained positions in a range of national and international organizations
  • A published author, nationally known speaker, and consultant on international projects
Lisa Schmucki

Lisa Schmucki

Founder and CEO,

  • K–12 education industry veteran with more than three decades of experience
  • Founder of, a best-in-class online platform, which hosts more than 300 live presentations in discrete professional learning communities each year
  • Created Super-Connected community, which provides a collaborative forum for district leaders to understand and share the many challenges of leading schools and driving school improvement
  • Held senior marketing positions with Films Media Group, Achieve3000, MKTG Services, Peterson's Guides, Macmillan Book Clubs, and Time-Life Books
  • Board member of the Education Tech Industry Network of the Software and Information Industry Association (SIIA)
  • Three-time recipient of the SIIA CODiE Award for as Best Professional Learning Solution for Faculty and Staff
Dr. Kim Wallace

Dr. Kim Wallace

Superintendent, Fremont Unified School District (CA)

  • Leads an international community of 35,000 students in 42 schools with residents from countries across the globe in the Silicon Valley
  • More than two decades of diverse public education experience as a high school teacher, instructional coach, university instructor, and site and district administrator
  • Demonstrated history of working in education management and executive leadership development
  • Expertise in Educational Technology, Curriculum Design, Public Speaking, Professional Development, and Strategic Planning
  • Strong operations professional with an Ed.D. focused on Educational Leadership from University of California, Davis
  • Developed an innovative process for new initiative implementations for long-term success
  • Named Administrator of the Year, Curriculum and Instruction (ACSA Region 6) and Excellence in Education Administrator of the Year award from the Yolo County School Boards Association

Founding power trip advisors

Kathleen Hurley

President, Kathy Hurley LLC

Deb Delisle

President, Alliance for Excellent Education (AEE)

Debra Kerr

CEO, Debra Kerr LLC

Nancy Lewin

Program Director, ACT Center for Equity and Learning

Ann McMullan

CEO, Ann McMullan Education Consultants

Lisa Schmucki