We’re gearing up for EP’s first-ever national Agents of Change event on Wednesday, April 7. Typically a local in-person event planned by regional Alumni Boards, Agents of Change is an opportunity to celebrate and learn from community leaders and fellow Alumni who are advancing transformation and systemic change on behalf of students and families.
While the COVID-19 pandemic introduced many traumas and challenges this year, including restrictions on community gatherings, its onset also provided a chance to re-imagine the usual Agents of Change structure. A group of dedicated Alumni from a variety of cohort years and locations across the country stepped up to plan a virtual event by EP Alumni for EP Alumni nationwide. The event is a virtual opportunity to re-engage as a full network and learn from Alums who have been leading through crisis this past year.
We asked members of the Agents of Change planning committee to share their perspectives in advance of the event. Hear more from these Alumni volunteers below.
Why were you inspired to get involved with a national, virtual Agents of Change?
Anna Braet (2015 Alum): 2020 was a really difficult year globally, locally, and for individuals -- especially the education community and Black communities. Due to the pandemic, we were isolated from others in times when sense of community mattered most: in the face of racist killing and violence, political unrest, and economic downturn. I saw Agents of Change as an opportunity to bring our EP community together on a national scale to celebrate the hard work, persistence, and survival of education leaders during such a traumatic year.
Matt Cuozzo (2017 Alum): I believe that harnessing the power of the EP network has the potential to create nationwide change on behalf of the students and families who need it most. This event has been several months in the making, and I've leaned on the enthusiasm of other Alumni to help make this event all that it has become.
Kennisha Miles (2016 Alum): All of the EP Alumni I've met have been a dynamic group of people interested in bringing about real change to students and families. I wanted to have an opportunity to learn from the amazing work that I know others in the sector have been doing during this ever-changing environment, and my hope is that I am able to take back some of what I've learned and implement that into my daily work in New Jersey.
Why is the theme "leading through crisis" important for this year?
Bell Wilkins (2019 Alum): With mass vaccinations in full swing and big shifts in U.S. government policy towards more education support, it's understandable to think the public health, racial justice, and education crises of 2020 are over. However, leading through crisis means understanding not just how to adapt to unforeseen circumstances -- it also means championing equity and boosting institutional knowledge in the aftermath. A theme like this is perfect for advancing collective understanding of how best to lead at all stages of a crisis and position ourselves for long-term impact.
Kaitlin Gastrock (2009 Alum): No matter what your role, just about everyone in education has had to reinvent some aspect of their work to adapt to the constantly changing landscape and meet the needs of students this year. As an EP Alum, I'm proud to be part of a national cohort of leaders that are redefining equitable education in America and doing the daily work to expand opportunity for students. Celebrating this year's Agents of Change offers inspiration to recommit to this work daily.
What do you hope attendees take away from the event?
Kaitlin Gastrock (2009 Alum): I hope our attendees will gain new insights they can apply to their work, draw inspiration from the leaders in the EP network, and find community in the opportunity to come together with like-minded advocates for equity and opportunity.
Anna Braet (2015 Alum): I hope attendees leave the Agents of Change event seeing themselves as part of a community, appreciating others in our network who are creating change in the world, and feeling excited to rebuild connections and reimagine the impact of our national EP network.
|VIRTUAL AGENTS OF CHANGE PLANNING COMMITTEE|
2015 EP Alum
2017 EP Alum
2009 EP Alum
2018 EP Alum
2016 EP Alum
2017 EP Alum
2015 EP Alum
2019 EP Alum