Linda Henke is the co-founder and executive director of the Santa Fe Center for Transformational School Leadership. She is a popular executive coach for principals and top-level school administrators as well as a consultant with schools in year-long programs of school improvement nationally and internationally.
She recently retired as an award-winning superintendent of Maplewood Richmond Heights, a St. Louis inner-ring suburban district that for years had been plagued with the same problems found in many urban environments. In the twelve years Linda led the district, it moved from being labeled one of the worst schools in Missouri and on the watch list for state take-over, to one of the most dynamic and innovative districts in Missouri. Prior to this position, Linda served for ten years as the assistant superintendent in one of the top tier districts in the state, the School District of Clayton, immersing the district in the study of systems thinking and building a continuous improvement curriculum and professional development infrastructure that received national attention.
Linda’s academic preparation includes a master’s degree in public relations from Iowa State University and a Ph.D in educational leadership from the University of Iowa. She has studied Peter Senge’s work with systems thinking for over twenty years and was a member of SOL Ed, Peter’s organization that focuses on sustainability and systems thinking education. She is a certified coach through the Center for Cognitive Coaching. During her career, she was a secondary English teacher, desegregation director, curriculum coordinator, principal, director of curriculum, assistant superintendent, college professor, and superintendent. Linda is the author of numerous articles and book chapters about topics ranging from school change, to literacy education, parent involvement, and school culture. She has been a frequent presenter at state and national conferences. Linda’s leadership work has been featured in The Heinemann Reader; the Field Book for Educators: Building Learning Organizations, edited by Peter Senge, and AASA’s Panasonic Foundation publication for outstanding work with systems thinking. Linda’s most recent work includes creating an early childhood literacy program and corresponding teacher-training program used in after-school programs in developing countries.