Education Leadership Conference Calls for Transformational Change

Leaders in the education reform movement discussed ways to transform K-12 education in the United States when they gathered in New Haven for the seventh annual Yale School of Management Education Leadership Conference on April 5.

The conference theme was "Inspiring Transformational Change." Panels and keynote speakers focused on encouraging education leaders to enact changes that will significantly impact school systems.

Angel Taveras, the mayor of Providence, Rhode Island, delivered a keynote address titled "City and State Perspectives on Transformational Change." In July 2012, the National Civic League named Providence an "All-America City" for its plan to ensure that all Providence students are reading on grade level by the third grade. In his address, Taveras recounted the impact of education in his own life, and he stressed the importance of community investment in education.

One of the conference's panel discussions, "How can we build an ecosystem to drive citywide reform? New Orleans' applications for other cities," explored how New Orleans leaders created a vibrant ecosystem for education reform in the wake of Hurricane Katrina, and what aspects of its success are transferable to other urban school districts.

Moderated by Ethan Gray, executive director of the Cities for Education Entrepreneurship Trust, the panel included Jay Altman, CEO of the New Orlean-based charter management organization FirstLine Schools; Kenya Bradshaw, executive director of the advocacy organization Stand for Children in Tennessee; Neerav Kingsland, CEO of New Schools for New Orleans, which funds and supports reform in the city; and Andy Kopplin, first deputy mayor and chief administrative officer of New Orleans.

The conference featured 17 other breakout panel discussions that addressed topics including how technology can deliver more personalized education to students; how to develop a diverse pipeline of education reform leaders; and how to improve STEM (science, technology, engineering, math) teaching to spur the U.S. economy. Louisiana State Superintendent John White also delivered a keynote address, and a keynote panel focused on education reform efforts in Connecticut.

Hosted by the Yale School of Management Education Club, the all-day event drew more than 750 educators, administrators, and reform advocates. The conference is the one of the leading education leadership conferences in the United States, and the only event of its kind organized by MBA students.

Angel Taveras, Mayor of Providence

Education Reform in New Orleans