SDP Helps Form Activate ED, a New Collaboration With Top Education Orgs

December 11, 2012


The Broad Center, Education Pioneers and the Strategic Data Project housed at the Center for Education Policy Research at Harvard University join forces through support from the Gates Foundation

December 11, 2012 – Oakland, Calif. – With the goal of connecting school systems with 3,500 leaders, managers and analysts, three of the nation’s leading education organizations have launched Activate ED, a collaboration to expand their pipeline of skilled professionals entering roles in public education outside the classroom. The organizations joining forces to create Activate ED include: The Broad Center for the Management of School Systems, Education Pioneers and the Strategic Data Project. The partner organizations and their work together to form Activate ED are supported through a series of grants from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

Activate ED is launching a website ( to recruit 1,500 new leaders through a variety of fellowships and residencies by April 2014, and provides a single source for potential applicants to learn about and apply for opportunities. In addition, Activate ED will create a national network of fellowship alumni, currently more than 2,000 strong, which will include a platform where best practices are shared between alumni and education leaders. This platform also serves as a strong talent pool for potential employers. As of today, Activate ED features nearly 400 high-profile career opportunities, including executive positions in education non-profits, school districts, charter management organizations, and positions with state agencies and the U.S. Department of Education.

“Through Activate ED, we believe that we will collectively identify more talented leaders, help provide them with the right career opportunities and give them the training and support to have a transformative impact on the broader public school system and student achievement,” said Scott Morgan, founder and CEO of Education Pioneers. “Activate ED will enable each of our organizations to amplify our work to bring more top leaders, managers and analysts to the education sector.”

The three organizations have already achieved strong results, placing a total of over 2,000 leaders to date, and are combining forces in part because all have a presence in 15 regions and cities across the nation. Additionally, 22 regions and cities are being served by at least two partners. In the 15 cities in which all three organizations have a presence, nearly 1,400 education leaders have been placed.

“At a time of declining resources for large, urban school districts, The Broad Residency and the Strategic Data Project, now featured through Activate ED, provide an amazing infusion of talent and energy,” said Heath Morrison, Superintendent of North Carolina’s Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools. “We see tangible results in districts as residents and fellows bring fresh thinking, high-quality analysis and process to the work. Their passion and dedication match their skill sets and children are the direct benefit of their work.”

“The participants in our programs all have a strong commitment to supporting teachers in raising student achievement, closing scholastic achievement gaps and getting more resources to the classroom,” said Becca Bracy Knight, executive director of The Broad Center for the Management of School Systems. “Now, through Activate ED, many more talented individuals will have the opportunity to learn about, consider and apply for positions where their managerial and analytic skills can make a tremendous difference in improving entire public school systems so that thousands of teachers have the support they need to help millions of students academically succeed.”

Each partner will manage distinct elements of Activate ED. The Broad Center is leading the creation of the Activate ED Exchange, which serves the collective Activate ED alumni network consisting of more than 2,000 former fellows and residents with a forum to share best practices. Education Pioneers is helping all Activate ED partners recruit strong candidates, and has already recruited 10,000 applicants for its own fellowships since 2008. The Strategic Data Project will continue developing, building and sharing analytical tools for fellows in all partner programs as a free resource, empowering leaders to drive school improvements.

“K-12 public education is at a pivotal time right now, in part because of the incredible amount of data which can serve as a rich resource for improving our schools,” said Sarah Glover, Executive Director of the Strategic Data Project. “In joining the Activate ED partnership, we see the opportunity to significantly contribute to improving student outcomes by helping education leaders capitalize on the ‘big data’ in their organizations.”

“Large urban school systems today are trying to execute on extremely complex missions. Amongst the 100 largest, the average one is trying to meet the needs of over 100,000 students, manage over 10,000 employees and an annual budget of over $1.3 billion. Activate ED is working to identify and place individuals with analytic and management skills into school systems, to help them deliver services, understand the effectiveness of their interventions, and identify opportunity gaps,” said Vicki Phillips, Director of Education, United States Program, at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. “The Gates Foundation recognizes that what happens at the administrative level helps shape the context for the critical relationships between teachers and students in the classroom, and that’s why we support the complex work that partnerships like Activate ED undertake as they work to bolster the education system and support the hard work going on in classrooms each day.”


Activate ED is a collaboration of three leading education organizations — The Broad Center for the Management of School Systems, Education Pioneers, and the Strategic Data Project — each of which have missions to transform education by supplying top leaders, managers, and analysts to the field. Activate ED recruits and places graduate students, early- and mid-career professionals, and senior executives into leadership positions in education nonprofits, federal and state departments of education, charter schools, and other education organizations. For more information, visit Activate ED on [Facebook[, follow Activate ED on [Twitter] or [LinkedIn], or visit []


Julie Angilly
Education Pioneers for Activate ED
(510) 292-0064