It has been an unprecedented time for education entrepreneurs, with the federal government increasing funding available to innovative nonprofits, engaging social innovators in the development of policy, and highlighting the work of entrepreneurs as exemplars to be followed. In this panel discussion at the NewSchools Summit 2010 conference, Bridgespan Group partner Susan Colby discusses the state of education reform. Education entrepreneurs follow by sharing how innovative ideas, models, and policies may be focused and scaled so that more children can get the education they deserve. They also consider what the broader results of this change will look like a decade from now, and what path will the movement need to take to spark true systemic change in public education.
Susan Colby is a founding partner of Bridgespan Group’s San Francisco office, where she leads the organization’s work in K-12 education and foundation strategy. She joined Bridgespan from Pharmacia (previously Monsanto), where she served as co-president of the sustainable development sector. Prior to Monsanto, Susan spent 10 years at McKinsey & Company, where she co-founded and co-led the North American environment practice. Stig Leschly is the founder and managing partner of the Newark Charter School Fund, an operating foundation financed by national philanthropies to support public school reform in Newark, NJ. Formerly, he was a lecturer at Harvard Business School, where his research and teaching covered entrepreneurship and education reform. From 1997 to 2000, Leschly was the CEO and founder of Exchange.com, an early competitor to eBay.com, which was acquired by Amazon.com in 1999.
Stig Leschly is the founder and managing partner of the Newark Charter School Fund, an operating foundation financed by national philanthropies to support public school reform in Newark, NJ. Formerly, he was a lecturer at Harvard Business School, where his research and teaching covered entrepreneurship and education reform. From 1997 to 2000, Leschly was the CEO and founder of Exchange.com, an early competitor to eBay.com, which was acquired by Amazon.com in 1999.
Larry Berger is CEO and co-founder of Wireless Generation, a company that helps PreK-12 educators to teach smarter through the sensitive and innovative application of technology in the classroom. Under his leadership, the company has developed software for mobile devices that makes formative assessment instructionally useful to teachers, “next generation” curriculum customized throughout the school year to students’ needs, and large-scale data systems that centralize student information and integrate knowledge management tools to spur teacher collaborations. Berger was a Rhodes Scholar and a White House Fellow working on educational technology at NASA.
Alexandra (Alex) Bernadotte is the founder and CEO of Beyond 12 (formerly CollegeSUCCESS), a national technology-based services organization whose mission is to increase the number of first generation, underrepresented and low-income students who graduate from our nation’s colleges and universities. In January of 2009, she was hired by NewSchools Venture Fund as an entrepreneur in residence to guide the development and business planning for a new venture focused on helping underserved students graduate from college. Bernadotte has more than 14 years of executive management and strategic development experience in both the nonprofit and private sectors.
Eva Moskowitz is CEO of Success Charter Network. In August 2006, she founded Harlem Success Academy, hailed by NYC Schools Chancellor Joel Klein as “one of the best charter schools in the country,” and cited by NYC Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg for its “amazing performance.” Moskowitz opened three more Harlem charter schools in August 2008. She is a former New York City Council member and chair of the Council’s Education Committee.
Jon Schnur is CEO and co-founder of New Leaders for New Schools, a national nonprofit organization focused on improving learning and school leadership. From September 2008 to June 2009, Schnur served as an advisor to Barack Obama’s Presidential campaign, a member of the presidential transition team, and a senior advisor to U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan. Before founding New Leaders, he was a special assistant to Secretary of Education Richard Riley, President Clinton’s White House associate director for educational policy, and senior advisor on education to Vice President Gore.