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Ross Knorr

Director of Financial Planning and Analysis, YES Prep Public Schools, 2015 EP Fellow

What led you to apply to EP?
I applied to Education Pioneers because I wanted to practice the skills that I was learning in my MBA program in the administration of a public school district. I had been a teacher before entering grad school, but I wanted to see if working in district leadership was something that would be interesting to me after graduating.

What projects or initiatives did you undertake as a Fellow?
I worked on the Data & IT team at Uncommon Schools where I worked on a process improvement project to visualize the onboarding and offboarding process for district staff, identify areas of risk, and recommend improvements. 

How did EP shape your leadership growth and/or professional trajectory?
Education Pioneers exposed me to the inner workings of a high-performing charter school district. Though I worked on the Data & IT Team, my project required me to work cross-functionally and get a feel for all the moving parts of the organization. It solidified my desire to continue working in education after I graduated with my MBA.  

What were some key learnings or takeaways from your Fellowship experience?
I think of two key learnings from my Fellowship. First, I learned that the folks working in education in America are all bound by the common goal to improve the academic outcomes of students. In that sense, though we may work in different functions and in different organizations, we are all part of the same “team;” people doing this work are all very willing to help out and to teach and learn from each other. Secondly, I took away from my experience that as with any organization—public or private—there are always big problems that need solving. There’s no room for complacency. The stakes are high in education, so we need to attract a really talented, driven pipeline of individuals to join in this movement and provide creative solutions to these pressing problems.

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