Appears In

Each year Education Week profiles innovative school district leaders. Among the 13 chosen in 2016 is ISU College of Education graduate Julio Cesar Contreras ā€™01, who overcame obstacles to soar in education.

He now supervises six middle and high school principals in Tulsa, Oklahoma. There are 40,000 students in the district he joined after working in Chicago schools for 11 years, beginning as a teacher. His leadership strategies focus on teamwork, pushing for solutions and realizing everyone has gifts.

The son of strong Mexican immigrants, he strengthens school communities through increased parental involvement.