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Education Entrepreneurs: Simmons Lettre and Carrie Irvin

A year ago, a Charter Board Partners “team meeting” meant co-founders Simmons Lettre and Carrie Irvin gathering around Carrie’s kitchen table. Today, their seven-person team serves over 30% of DC’s charter schools by providing customized support on charter school governance. Their theory of action is simple yet powerful—great boards will lead to great schools.As a movement, we’ve often relied on the “superhero” school leader—someone who can simultaneously provide feedback on a mini-lesson, […] Read more

Education Entrepreneurs: Eric Westendorf and Alix Guerrier

Having played sports for most of my life I’d consider myself a master of the “high-fives” – there wasn’t one I hadn’t tried. That is, until I met LearnZillion co-founders Eric Westendorf and Alix Guerrier who introduced me to their aptly named “aggressive high-five.” My first encounter with the aggressive high-five came this past June when I was lucky enough to snag an invite to LearnZillion’s TeachFest. For this event Eric and […] Read more

Welcome Mytonomy!

The NewSchools Seed Fund looks for spots in the K-12 landscape where technology can support, enhance and personalize learning, especially for those students who need it most. To this end, we’re excited to welcome a new, early-stage technology company that helps high schools support their students’ quest for college. By capturing short video alumni stories, graduates pay it forward by offering candid advice and inspiration to current students. It’s called Mytonomy and it’s […] Read more


Finding your perfect match can be a grueling experience. Many people on the hunt for their significant other have gone to great lengths to increase their odds of finding Mr. or Mrs. Right, using all available tools in their hunt. They’ll scour OK Cupid or Match.com for apposite partners, use Yelp to find the perfect first date dinner spot, and maybe even use an app for fashion recommendations on what to wear.For […] Read more

Rounding Up: The Other Half of Education

Last week, as our summer together in the Bay Area was drawing to a close, a group of Education Pioneers Fellows came over to my house to discuss how we would respond to an essay contest sponsored by Goldman Sachs. The prompt:What should we do to create a strong US education system that works for all, that improves student outcomes and enables our country to regain its leadership position in the field […] Read more

What America thinks about education, 2012 edition

There’s a big problem with public education in this country, but it doesn’t affect my kid. If you had to boil down this year’s PDK Gallup poll – probably the most influential survey of American attitudes on education – down to a sentence, that might be it. But there’s much more to learn here, particularly if you care about improving the way we prepare teachers, school choice, or common core standards.My kids are […] Read more

Steve Jobs on Programming Greatness

A few months back Fast Company ran an in-depth feature story on Steve Jobs. The material came from a previously lost interview conducted by tech journalist and former Apple employee Robert Cringely. The interview took place in 1995 when Steve Jobs was CEO of NeXt computer and Pixar. The unedited interview was released on iTunes in a documentary titled Steve Jobs: The Lost Interview.  It’s captivating, and as Washington Post reporter Michael […] Read more

STEAM-powered engine to Mars

After watching NASA’s rover Curiosity land safely—and with unbelievable panache—on the Martian surface late Sunday evening, I heard a shock jock on a local sports radio show bemoaning the attention the mission was garnering. “I guess I know this is a big deal to some people, but I think we’re going overboard here,” he said. “This must be the way science people feel when they look at how excited we get about […] Read more

What does a moon shot in education mean?

Lately, leaders seeking to describe a bold effort to make massive change have used the metaphor of the moon shot, notably including Arne Duncan, early in his tenure as  Secretary of Education. At the outset of the stimulus, the moon mission offered an apt metaphor for reaching a goal that has long seemed unreachable, through determination, hard work, and vision.I was thinking about those words today as I visited the Kennedy Space Center, […] Read more