Why Educational Equity Depends on Openness and Humility

The term “ally” is often brought up for debate and discussion in education reform circles across our country. Is it appropriate for a white educator of relative privilege to self-identify as an ally , or is this a term that must be earned and offered by someone who more closely represents the students served by that educator? Who determines who is an ally and who isn’t? And even if the term ally is accepted in some circles, does that mean it is universal? As a straight, white, male who grew up with options and had the opportunity to go to private high school and college, I have struggled with...

Pioneer Profile: 10 Questions for our EPic Alum Adrian J. DeLeon

Adrian J. (AJ) DeLeon is the Vice President and Chief Strategy Officer, CSC Consulting Group. Read more about AJ and his work. 1 | Where did you grow up and what was it like? I grew up in a large and diverse border city in Mexico across from El Paso, Texas: Ciudad Juarez. Growing up in the borderlands helped me understand, from a very young age, the definition of contrast. It also gave me a unique perspective on the differences between society and education in other countries and the United States. I greatly enjoyed having that bicultural, bilingual, and binational childhood, for it opened my...

Pioneer Profile: 10 Questions for our EPic Alum Eldrin L. Deas

Eldrin L. Deas serves as an education consultant. Read more about Eldrin and his work. 1 | Where did you grow up and what was it like? I grew up in Atlanta, GA. It’s a beautiful city. It’s the birthplace of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and Outkast. There’s an episode of Futurama , which is set 1,000 years in the future, called “The Deep South” in which the main characters come across the Lost City of Atlanta. They poke fun at Atlanta as being mostly an airport and the home of Coca-Cola. But, for me, it was more like life in Donald Glover’s new show, Atlanta . There’s the complexity of post-...

Pioneer Profile: 10 Questions for our EPic Alum Andy Shin

Andy Shin serves as Executive Director for Breakthrough, San Francisco. 1 | Where did you grow up and what was it like? I grew up in Norwood, a suburb in New Jersey. My best friend lived next door and there was plenty of room to run around, so I was a happy kid. I also had good quality schools to attend which I appreciate in retrospect. 2 | What do you like most about where you live now? My family and I just moved to Berkeley, CA after eight years in Marin (the county north of the Golden Gate Bridge). I appreciate the diversity and sense of community and the good food in all directions. 3 |...

Pioneer Profile: 10 Questions for our EPic Alum William P. Jackson

1 | Where did you grow up and what was it like? I spent the first 10 years of my life in Riverdale, Georgia and the remainder of pre-adult years in Tyrone, Georgia. The thing I think folks need to know about the Atlanta metro area in the 1990s when I grew up is that it was really normal to be Black and middle class. I grew up in an environment when Black success wasn’t a rarity it was actually rather normal. Also because of the amount of Black success in Atlanta there was an inherent variety in what that success looked like so implicitly I thought there were many different identity pathways...

Pioneer Profile: 10 Questions for our EPic Alum Anjelica Hardin Hall

Anjelica Hardin Hall serves as Managing Director, Partnerships and Programs for the Tennessee Charter School Center. Read more about Anjelica and her work. 1 | Where did you grow up and what was it like? I was born and raised in Memphis, TN. I am so proud of my city, and have chosen to work in Memphis to give back what it has given to me. For the first 13 years of my life, it was just me, my mom, and my dog (who I consider a brother—yes, I’m one of THOSE people), and we were all very close. As a single mother, my mom encountered many people who told her I would be nothing more than a...

Pioneer Profile: 10 Questions for our EPic Alum Brian Pick

Brian Pick is the Chief of Teaching and Learning for DC Public Schools. 1 | Where did you grow up and what was it like? Park Ridge, Illinois . A quiet, middle-class suburb of Chicago – expect for all the airplanes. My house was right under the final approach for O’Hare International Airport. It’s also Hillary Clinton’s hometown and to quote Bill Clinton’s Democratic National Convention speech , Park Ridge is “a perfect example of post-World War II middle class America, street after street of nice houses, great schools, good parks, a big public swimming pool, and almost all white." 2 | What do...

Pioneer Profile: 10 Questions for our EPic Alum Eduardo Briceño

Eduardo Briceño serves as Co-Founder and CEO of Mindset Works, Inc. Read more about Eduardo and his work. 1 | Where did you grow up and what was it like? I grew up in Caracas, Venezuela. It was sunny, beautiful, and unfortunately, it involved adolescence. 2 | What do you like most about where you live now? Great tacos! San Jose History Park is very neat too. 3 | What is your favorite school memory? When Mr. Bromley demonstrated angular momentum. It seemed like magic how the spinning wheel remained suspended in the air defying gravitational force. 4 | Which leader (alive or not, in any field)...

Pioneer Profile: 10 Questions for our EPic Alum Nicole Young

Nicole Young serves as Executive Director, Bard Early College of New Orleans. Read more about Nicole and her work. 1 | Where did you grow up and what was it like? I grew up in Virginia Beach, VA, which is essentially Suburbia, USA. It was a fun place to be a child and teenager, even if it was a little slow at times. Growing up there made me a beach girl to my core; I love the ocean. 2 | What do you like most about where you live now? I live in New Orleans and one of my favorite things about this city is the access to interesting and innovative art. Of course, music always comes to mind when...

Pioneer Profile: 10 Questions for our EPic Alum Robert Sepeda

Robert Sepeda serves as Communications Manager, Data and Outreach for Families Empowered. Read more about Robert and his work. 1 | Where did you grow up and what was it like? I grew up in a rural farming town in California’s San Joaquin Valley. You can drive from one end to the other in 10 minutes or less! I spent much of my childhood on my grandfather’s dairy farm and adolescence as a paperboy and outlet mall employee. 2 | What do you like most about where you live now? I love the professional and financial growth opportunities that Houston has provided thanks to its tight-knit education...

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