Wanda Cook-Robinson

Superintendent of Oakland Schools

Dr. Wanda Cook-Robinson is a lifelong educator. She is an instructional architect who creates educational environments where all children can reach their optimum potential. She is a pioneer who has blazed trails creating inclusive pathways for minorities and women. Beginning her historical career as a special education teacher, Dr. Cook-Robinson has maintained two guiding pillars: passion for student excellence and mentorship. With a zealous commitment to equity for ALL students, Dr. Cook-Robinson led an advisory group of state education leaders – known as the School Finance Research Collaborative – to complete a game-changing adequacy study to determine the real cost to educate a student within the state of Michigan.

A long-time mentor, Dr. Cook-Robinson co-founded the Minority Women’s Network, which supports women and educators of color returning to school to complete their doctoral degrees. In 2021, she became the first African American President of the Association of Educational Service Agencies. She also served as President of the Urban Superintendents Association of America. She serves on the Board of Directors for the United Way of Southeastern Michigan, the Association of Educational Service Agencies, and the Oakland Schools Education Foundation. She also serves on Wayne State University’s Education Advisory Board, the K-12 Alliance of Michigan Executive Board, the Oakland County Library Board of Directors, the Michigan Association of African American Superintendents Board of Directors, the Accelerate for Kids Board, the Oakland County Superintendents Association Executive Leadership Board, the Michigan Association of Intermediate School Administrators Board, the Galileo Leadership Consortium Board of Directors, the Detroit Drives Degrees Leadership Council, the Cranbrook Institute of Science Board of Governors and she is the current President of the SETSEG Property and Casualty Board.

Dr. Cook-Robinson has received a number of accolades, both as a leader in education and as a dedicated community member, including being named to the Crain’s Detroit Business list of “Notable Women in Education Leadership”. She is also a recipient of the School Superintendent’s Association’s “Women in School Leadership Award”, the “Effie Jones Humanitarian Award”, the “Michigan Superintendent of the Year” award, the Wayne State University College of Education Alumni Association’s “Distinguished Educator” award and many more.

Dr. Cook-Robinson holds a Ph.D. in Instructional Technology and an Ed.S. in Educational Leadership from Wayne State University, a Master’s Degree in Curriculum Development and Supervision from the University of Michigan, and a Bachelor of Arts in Special Education from Michigan State University.


Day 2
January 19, 2023
10:30 am

District Leadership that Works: A Panel Discussion with MASA Superintendents of the Year on how to Implement Research-Based Best Practices

19 January
Time:  10:30 am - 11:45 am
Location:  Prairies VI (Lower Level)

In this session attendees will learn from MASA Superintendents of the Year on how they have utilized research-based best practices. The panel consists of superintendents from rural, urban and suburban school districts. They will share their tools, techniques, and strategies along with how they have overcome obstacles to best serve and support their school communities.

The discussion will be based on the six district-level leadership responsibilities that significantly impact the superintendent's abilities to lead: goal setting process, non-negotiable goals for student achievement and instruction, board alignment supporting district goals, monitoring the goals, use of resources to support the goals, and providing a defined autonomy to principals (based on Marzano and Waters book, District Level Leadership that Works, 2009).

Attendee takeaways from our session:
* Gain an understanding of the evidence based best practices/responsibilities that correlate to student achievement.
* Learn the techniques, strategies and tools that recognized superintendents used when implementing evidence based best practices.
* Find ways to combat the many obstacles that superintendents face when implementing evidence based best practices.

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