A Passionate Teacher, A Commitment to Transform Education, and a $100,000 Letter

Rachel with Ellen DeGeneres
Imagine having a casual conversation with one of the country's most popular TV personalities. Now, imagine getting to do so as an unexpected guest on her show. In front of 3.5 million viewers. On your birthday. When Rachel Faust accepted a last-minute invitation to travel to LA to attend a taping of The Ellen DeGeneres Show, she figured her trip would consist of just that: watching the show as a member of the live studio audience. Moments before the episode began recording, she learned she would be featured on it. A first-grade teacher and Teach For America corps member at the Van E. Blanton...

Q&A with EP Alumnus Andrew Buher, New Chief Operating Officer of NYC Department of Education

This past April, 2009 EP alumnus Andrew Buher was named Chief Operating Officer of the New York City Department of Education, making him a top executive of the largest school system in the U.S. Promoted from his previous role as Chief of Staff to the Chancellor, Buher now oversees the operation of over 1,700 schools, the education of 1.1 million students, and the management of $24 billion – over a third of New York City's entire annual budget. In this EP original Q&A, Buher discusses the roots of his interest in education, why he pursued a Graduate School Fellowship with Education...

EP Alum Shannah Varon Writes for Education Week About Hybrid Education Leadership

Originally published on Education Week: Cage-Busting: Hybrid Leadership Guest blogging this week is Shannah Varón, Executive Director of Boston Collegiate Charter School (BCCS) in Dorchester, Massachusetts, a school ranked first in the state for the math MCAS exam, with 100% of 10th grade students scoring Advanced on the test. For nine consecutive years, BCCS graduates have posted 100% college acceptance results. Shannah is an Education Pioneers Graduate School Fellowship Alumna from the 2009 Boston cohort. In Cage-Busting Leadership, Rick Hess writes that "high-performing schools and systems...

EP Alum Scott Gaiber Writes for Education Week about Transforming a SFUSD Middle School

From Rick Hess' "Straight Up" Blog on Education Week Guest blogging today is Scott Gaiber, Director of Recruitment and Human Capital Support for the San Francisco Unified School District, a Pre-K to 12th grade district that serves over 55,000 students in approximately 140 schools. Scott manages a team that provides district-wide recruitment and staffing support, serves as a single-point-of-contact for all district administrators, provides professional development workshops on staffing, and visits district schools to support talent management. Scott is an Education Pioneers Graduate School...

Analyst Fellowship Community Project: The Secret to Surpassing Your Fundraising Target: 8 Easy Steps

After we had our plan in place for the Student Consultancy Program , we quickly realized that we needed a way to finance our program. We needed to raise money to cover the costs of instructional materials, a final reception after the students' final presentation, and prizes and gifts to the students and judges for their participation in the program. Based on our individual networks, we decided that social media and crowdfunding was the best way for us to fundraise. Over the course of 10 weeks, the Student Consultancy Program raised 150% of our fundraising target. In an age where crowdfunding...

Analyst Fellowship Community Project: Turning Vision into Reality

When asked by Education Pioneers to think of a project that would give back to the community, I considered my own dreams and experiences. As a daughter of Vietnamese refugees, one of my most prominent dreams from childhood was to attend college. Fortunately for me, I was able to turn my dream into a definitive vision and, finally, into reality. Drawing from my college experiences, I thought about the way I was able to complete my college education. At first it was tough. I had very little experience writing research papers, thinking critically, or analyzing information. I also found it...

Analyst Fellows Convene to Discuss Growth and Scale in Education

Analyst Fellows
As part of the Education Pioneers Analyst Fellowship experience, Fellows come together for a series of five convenings to discuss their experiences, share ideas and insights and learn more about the work of other Fellows and Partners. During the third Analyst Fellowship convening for the Western region, Fellows organized a panel session to dig into the internal and external issues education organizations face in regards to growth. Three of our valuable Partners helped facilitate the discussion: Tracy Hanna, Director of Growth at KIPP Bay Area Schools Jonathan Schorr, Partner at NewSchools...

Evaluating Innovation: Testing the Effectiveness of Chicago’s New Teacher Evaluation Tool

Evaluation
Federal and state policies such as the US Department of Education’s Race to the Top state grant competition and Illinois’ Performance Evaluation Act of 2010, which prioritize building effective principal and teacher evaluations systems to improve student achievement outcomes, have ratcheted up the need for data-driven teacher evaluation in Illinois. This renewed attention on improving student achievement outcomes has the education sector exploring innovative tools to use for evaluation. Chicago Public Schools’ Excellence in Teaching program, led by Education Pioneers Alumna Sheri Frost Leo (’...

PACE Report Offers Recession-Proof Policy Recommendations

“Changing California’s education system will require more money, but the absence of resources does not preclude policy changes that can make a difference for kids. This is the way forward.” So begins David Plank, Executive Director of Policy Analysis for California Education ( PACE ), when asked to explain the impetus behind PACE’s most recent report. The report, released in April and titled “Reforming Education in California: A Guide for Candidates and Citizens,” makes clear policy recommendations in anticipation of California’s state-wide political races. “This report points the way for...

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