By Melissa Wu, March 27, 2023
The K-12 sector is no stranger to challenges. As we recover from pandemic disruptions and confront the myriad of cascading obstacles affecting schools and their communities, this is a critical moment.
My college cross country coach always told us to “run through the hill” to keep momentum through the crest and into the downhill. It sounded irrational until I tried it and realized how much extra speed the momentum and gravity gave me with every step down the other side.
The challenges in our post-pandemic recovery are daunting and real, but we have an opportunity to lead with greater purpose. Pushing through the toughest parts can give us the momentum needed to accelerate progress for students. There are so many who are leading with resilience, creativity, and courage, and the actions we take now to add to their ranks and support their work shape what our reality will be tomorrow.
The stories of impact that have emerged from the EP network at large these past few years have reminded me of the positive change that is possible when adaptive leaders come together to find solutions and use their skills to expand opportunities for students and communities.
Current Impact Fellow Clara Smith is looking at process improvement for DC Public Schools in order to sharpen the district's crisis response strategies. Last summer, Hasana Abdul-Quadir developed a 12-month recruiting plan in the wake of a national teacher attrition crisis for Distinctive Schools' Talent team. Damon Hoyle, an EP COVID Response Fellow, coordinated COVID data collection across the Texas’s 1,200 school districts and charter school networks at the height of the pandemic.
We can’t change the past, but we can change the future—something EP Fellows and Alumni are doing every day in service of millions of students. These examples are a tiny sliver of countless stories coming from our network of 4,600 leaders who are doing their part to change the future and persist in the face of adversity.
I am unwavering in my belief that education is a critical lever in a civil rights movement that has been incomplete for generations. But realizing our boldest ambitions for education will take a diverse network of knowledgeable and connected leaders at all levels taking actions big and small to work toward this collective vision.
With that, I am excited to be building our next cohort of Impact Fellows. This year, we are expanding the scale of our signature 10-month Impact Fellowship by growing the cohort size and deepening our presence and partnerships in four core geographic areas: Texas (Dallas and Houston), Chicago, the Bay Area, and Washington, D.C.
Applications for the 2023 Impact Fellowship are now open. We are seeking adaptive early career problem-solvers with strengths in data, analytics, strategy, and project management who are eager to use their talents and expertise to make an impact in the education sector. While gaining hands-on experience through their work placements, Fellows also participate in a nationwide cohort that develops their skills and capacity to support long-term careers and impact in K-12.
My tenure as a nonprofit leader has reminded me that we can’t fully predict what challenges lie ahead. But this I know for sure: I am forever inspired by the growing EP network of leaders at all levels who are collectively driving forward creative solutions to help students reach their full potential. And I am forever grateful for your partnership in fueling our efforts.
Let’s keep the momentum going.