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Investing in Teachers

Susan Moore Johnson and James R. Heal

  • Format: PDF
  • Case Code: KC36INVE
  • 24 pages


  • Format: Permission to reprint
  • Case Code: KC36INVE
  • 11 pages



In November 2011, the Massachusetts Board of Elementary and Secondary Education placed Lawrence Public Schools in state receivership. In January 2012, Jeff Riley was named the new Superintendent. This case explores the successes and setbacks of the reform that took place over the five years of since Riley’s appointment. Beginning with the conditions that gave rise to receivership, including controversies surrounding the departure of prior superintendent Wifredo Laboy, the case goes on to explore Riley’s approach to reform from a number of perspectives.

The case explores how dismissing ineffective teachers through “Receiver Renewal’ changed the nature of accountability in the district. Riley’s decisions about allocating resources to Expanded Learning Time are also detailed. The role of and relationship with the teachers’ union at a time of receivership and reform is examined, before detailing the various Human Capital reform efforts that characterized the first five years of Riley’s tenure, including:

  • The reimagining of LPS’ career ladder and salary scale;
  • The expansion of leadership roles for Advanced and Master Teachers;
  • The development of a fellowship that recognizes and rewards teacher excellence;
  • The establishment of Teacher Leadership Teams.

The case concludes by offering questions as to the future of Lawrence in light of receivership and reform, including the extent to which the changes made and gains observed are sustainable.

Subjects: Receivership; Leadership succession, Teacher leadership, Inclusive education
Setting: Lawrence Public Schools (LPS)

Also available: Leaders Change, Policies Evolve: The Lawrence Public Schools Respond to State Receivership, Act II

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