Innovation at Yale Education Leadership Conference ’18

May 9, 2018

Over 450 leaders from charter school management, education non-profits, and advocacy organizations gathered at the 12th annual Yale Education Leadership Conference on April 5-6 in New Haven, CT. This year’s speakers included Randi Weingarten, president of the American Federation of Teachers and former Secretary of Education John King. The theme, “Fostering the Ecosystem for Change,” emphasized the role of various players in transforming US education.

Panels on personalized learning and better use of data within schools highlighted the role of entrepreneurs in fostering the ecosystem. Mark D’Agostino, VP of Product & Services at DreamBox Learning, said that personalized-learning “is not just about serving up what’s next -- it’s knowing where you are, where you’re going, and helping you make choices about how to get there.” Lynzi Ziegenhagen, founder and CEO of SchoolZilla, and others discussed the importance of building flexible school data systems and empowering students to see the impact of their efforts on their own GPA.

The investor’s perspective was represented by a panel of seasoned education entrepreneurs and investors. The panel suggested that while there is more capital waiting to be deployed than opportunities to invest in, innovators are far ahead of what the market can absorb. At the same time, innovation is happening all along the value chain. “How many teachers create their own lesson plans?” commented Bill Hughes, Founder and President of Open4 Learning, “That’s innovation and we should celebrate that.”


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Ryan George