June 24, 2020
Contact for Education Pioneers:
Jennifer Chin
Senior Director, External Relations

New Cohort of Rising Leaders Announced to Help the Education Sector Build Back Better

Thirty-four talented professionals selected for EP Fellowship to provide critical capacity for schools and education organizations as they plan for the sector’s long-term recovery.

Boston, MA– Education Pioneers (EP), a national nonprofit that builds the leadership and management capacity of the K-12 public education sector, announced today the selection of 34 talented professionals for the Education Pioneers Fellowship’s Summer 2020 Cohort. Beginning this month, Fellows are providing 10 weeks of critical capacity to school districts, charter schools, nonprofits, government agencies, and education support organizations who continue to respond to the immediate impacts of COVID-19 while also planning for the sector’s long-term recovery.

For the first time in the history of the program, most Fellows are working from home offices and EP’s signature leadership development programming will be hosted virtually given the ongoing pandemic.

“Navigating a crisis like COVID-19 is urgent and important work. The pandemic coupled with our nation’s reckoning with structural and systemic racism shines a harsh light on the inequities that exist in our education system every day,” says Melissa Wu, CEO. “Education Pioneers is proud to provide leadership capacity to education partners working to solve those challenges and prepare for the next school year. This is just the beginning of the deep and difficult work we need to do in the education system to build back better and more equitably.” 

Schools and other education organizations partnering with Education Pioneers this summer report that EP Fellows will lead projects impacting nearly a million constituents, inclusive of students, teachers, families, and community members. 15% of EP Summer Fellows will work on projects directly related to COVID-19 planning and recovery, while an additional 35% will work on critical infrastructure and planning projects to support organizational sustainability during and beyond the pandemic. For example, Fellows Sharlene Guiriba, Smrithi Sharma, and Devin Saiki will serve on Chicago Public Schools’ COVID Task Force. They’ll be a part of developing and implementing the plan to return 355,000 students and 35,000 employees to schools at the 3rd largest school district in the country. The Task Force will address key priorities including social-emotional wellness, health protocols, instruction, budgeting, supply chain, and more. 

“Education Pioneers Fellows will be essential to Chicago Public Schools’ COVID Task Force, helping us plan for student safety and learning during the 2020-2021 school year,” says Christina Jordan (2012 Alumna), Deputy Chief Talent Officer at Chicago Public Schools. “We are grateful for Education Pioneers’ ability to meet our capacity needs and match us with these talented professionals who will make a consequential impact.”

Incoming Fellows will join EP’s nationwide network of 4,500 Alumni, 75% of whom continue to work in education and are already enabling the sector’s response and recovery to COVID-19. Alumni who typically find themselves behind the scenes working on operational, analytical, or strategic initiatives, have found their work increasingly visible during the ongoing pandemic. They expect COVID response and recovery to last into the 2020-2021 school year and beyond. 

The EP Summer Fellowship is a 10-week summer experience that previews the impact a future leader can make in the education sector and lays the foundation they need to become a lifelong leader. Of the 2020 EP Fellows, 60% self-identify as people of color and 70% are recent graduates or currently in graduate school.

Fellows participate in learning and leadership development throughout the program. Fellows explore mindsets and orientations around adaptive, inclusive leadership, with a focus on identity, consciousness, and ultimately enabling racial equity within education. Pioneers will learn from national and regional education leaders experts and from one another to collectively enhance their impact in the projects they’re currently working on with EP’s network of partner organizations, and to strengthen the pipeline of talented leaders ready and interested in taking on roles in data analytics, strategy, operations, project management, and more across the education sector. 

Education organizations interested in hosting an EP Fellow in the future can learn more or apply to partner with Education Pioneers. Partnership with Education Pioneers helps to strengthen the pipeline of talented leaders ready and interested in taking on roles in data analytics, strategy, finance, project management, and more across the education sector.

For the full list of 2020 Summer Fellows and Partners, click here.  

About Education Pioneers

Education Pioneers builds the pipeline of leaders outside the classroom who enable teachers and students to be successful inside the classroom. Since 2003, Education Pioneers has recruited and trained over 4,500 leaders in partnership with more than 900 education organizations nationwide.

Of the organization’s Alumni in the workforce, more than 75% serve in education and lead or contribute to work that impacts public school students in major cities across the nation, most of whom are students of color and growing up in underserved areas. Learn more:

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