Stephen Fedore began his career as an elementary school teacher in Hartford, CT for two years. He spent a lot of time collecting data on attendance and assessments, but was frustrated by how little the data presented actually moved the needle for his students. Believing in the power of data to have a real impact, Stephen enrolled at the MIT Sloan School of Management to figure out how to better collect and present actionable data that teachers could really use.
While at MIT, Stephen became aware of Education Pioneers and their “great work on the data side of education.” EP was the ideal opportunity for Stephen to test out his belief that he wanted to work in data analytics within education. Reflecting back, Stephen says, “The Fellowship confirmed my assumption that education data analytics was what I wanted to do with my career.”
Stephen’s local cohort was a particularly impactful experience for him. “The cohort experience proved valuable for my career,” he says. “I built relationships and connections to others who, by and large, continue to work in education today.”
- Data & Analysis
For his EP Fellowship, Stephen was placed at Teach For America in Connecticut where he applied his interest and expertise in analytics to data-driven projects. One of those projects was to identify districts within Connecticut that might benefit from TFA expansion based on student performance data.
The results of Stephen’s project showed that TFA had correctly identified the areas of greatest need, that there were opportunities for expansion to other cities and towns, and most importantly, that Connecticut had a systemic problem. When broken down by race and ethnicity, regardless of whether or not a district was considered high-performing, Black students were not being served as well. Stephen says, “My work highlighted the need for support more broadly for historically disadvantaged groups.”
The EP Fellowship experience confirmed for Stephen that he wanted to work in education, but outside of the classroom as a data analyst. Next, he took his skills to Tulsa Public Schools through Harvard’s Strategic Data Project with a desire to bring data to teachers and school leaders in a way that is intuitive and supports positive student outcomes. He was hired to remain at Tulsa Public Schools and is now the Chief Analytics Officer for the district of approximately 42,000 students in 86 schools. Stephen is in charge of a new department that works to centralize data and analytics, evaluate the effectiveness of programs, and support principals and teachers with simple data dashboards to help them make better decisions for kids.
“I’m passionate about supporting education because I see the opportunities I had because I was given a high-quality education. I agree with the mantra that education is the civil rights issue of the U.S. right now,” says Stephen.
He adds, “I work with data because it helps educators work more intelligently. Data alone will not solve the education problem, but it is an important piece in a bigger puzzle that must be attacked from many angles.”