Courtesy Of Broad Center At Yale

Hanseul Kang, the state superintendent of education for the District of Columbia, will serve as the inaugural executive director of the Broad Center — an education policy think tank to be housed at the Yale School of Management — according to a Tuesday announcement from the school.

Philanthropists Eli and Edythe Broad donated $100 million to SOM last December — the largest-ever gift in the school’s 49-year history — initiating the Los Angeles-based education center’s transition to New Haven. The Broad Center will offer a tuition-free master’s program for promising leaders in education, in addition to fellowship programming for senior-level education management executives in large urban districts. Additionally, the center hopes to promote research activity by aligning itself with professors interested in education management while becoming a hub for high-level dialogue on public education. 

In a letter to her colleagues in DC, Kang indicated that she will be stepping down on Oct. 16 to initiate changes to education in urban school systems “through leadership development, impactful research and policy engagement” at Yale.

“DC has served as a proof point of what is possible in education, when a group of diverse stakeholders come together around a common vision rooted in a deep belief that all children can learn and succeed at high levels,” Kang told the News. “I’m excited to incorporate learnings based on not only … what we have accomplished across all of our public schools in the District of Columbia, but also how we have done it, as we think about developing and supporting leaders at the Broad Center.”

During her tenure as superintendent, D.C. public school students made nationally recognized strides with higher test scores on the SAT and on district-wide assessments. The National Assessment of Educational Progress identified DC as having the “most growth” per its metrics in the past 10 years. Kang also instituted a system of school assessment allowing parents to compare the performance of each public school in the system.

Kang completed the Broad Residency in 2013, while the center was still housed in Los Angeles. She began her career as a high school teacher in rural New Mexico before pursuing roles in education policy at Teach for America and the Tennessee Department of Education, according to a Tuesday SOM press release. In the post, Kang was quoted saying that she is excited to work with SOM Dean Kerwin Charles.  

Assistant Dean for Faculty and Curriculum Gabriel Rossi spoke to Kang’s promise as a candidate during the search for the Broad Center’s inaugural executive director.

“[During the] nationwide search, we received applications from many excellent candidates. The pool of candidates was quite exceptional, even by Yale standards,” Rossi said. “Hanseul is someone who embodies this excellence.”

Kang stands in “lockstep agreement” with Charles on the Broad Center’s planned approach to its work, Charles told the Washington Post — that the Center’s work will not be informed by ideologies, but guided by research.

Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Broad Center anticipated its first class of master’s students to matriculate this fall. Deputy Dean Edieal Pinker said that date was pushed back due to the pandemic’s impact on SOM and program participants’ school districts.

“The ‘Fellowship’ will welcome its first students in the summer of 2021 while the Master’s degree program will launch in the summer of 2022,” Pinker wrote in an email to the News.

Kang is the District of Columbia’s longest-serving education appointee.

John Besche | john.besche@yale.edu

Corrections, Sept. 15: An earlier version of this article named Kang a graduate of the Broad Academy. She is in fact an alumna of the Broad Residency, which is a different program. Additionally, that version identified Kang as the superintendent of DC Public Schools. Her official title is the state superintendent of education for the District of Columbia.