One year ago: #EP2016

Exactly one year ago, more than 400 education leaders and change makers came together in San Francisco for a truly inspiring event: the 2016 Education Pioneers Conference.

The wealth of knowledge joining us at the conference was palpable. From our keynote speaker Bryan Stevenson, the Founder and Executive Director of Equal Justice Initiative, or our Black Men in Education panel where panelists tackled the realities of the low percentage of black men in the classroom and in the education sector as a whole -- we encouraged courageous, and sometimes tough, conversations.  

Now as we come upon its one-year anniversary, we wanted to share a roundup of some of our most impactful #EP2016 blog posts and Q&A from our panelists. Just as the conference exposed attendees to numerous topics and points of view, so do these blog posts. As we continue to work towards making education an equitable experience for all students, we ask you to read these blog posts and reflect on how they can drive us to action

1. Low Stakes and Let’s Go: Navigating Tension to Innovate in Education

“How do we innovate and bring new ideas that will make education better for all students and improve the odds, while being respectful of the community?” EP Alumnus Hassan Hassan, Director of Investments for 4.0 Schools, wrote this piece to provide advice and frameworks to those looking to make a change.

2. Creating Communities of Excellence: Q&A with Derwin Sisnett

Derwin Sisnett, Co-Founder of Gestalt Community Schools and Managing Partner at ReThink Community, says his work stems from his own personal experience of feeling “lucky” to have gotten the education he received; for many young people of color from urban communities, it is an accident when they receive an equitable education. By working to intersect the notion of excellence with underserved communities, change can come. Derwin believes we all must work together to make this happen; no one person or idea will suffice.

3. Race and Hiring: Is Bias Holding You Back from Building a Powerful Organization

Leniece F. Brissett, Founder and CEO of Compass Talent Group, talks to us about bias and racism in hiring on the heels of publishing the article “The Subconscious Advantage of Whiteness in Hiring.” Leniece touches on how organizations let down candidates when they don’t incorporate diversity and how internal bias and racism affects hiring and equity in hiring processes

4. Why Everyone Loses When We Don’t Talk About Race and Equity: Q&A with Michelle Molitor

Michelle Molitor, Founder and CEO of Fellowship for Race & Equity in Education (FREE), reflects on race, class, and power in education organizations--and how these concepts are  prevalent in other industries like health and politics. In Michelle’s words, “We cannot continue on this path of ‘slow and steady wins the race.’ We are not winning the race. In many instances, we are going backwards.”

5. Excitement, Insights, and Gratitude from #EP2016

For a full look into the 2016 Education Pioneers Conference, we created a Storify of many of the tweets and conversations captured during the conference. Using the hashtag #EP2016, attendees commented on all things related to the conference in real time. Check it out and tell us what you found most interesting!

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