Feb 7 2022

The Future of Education: Why We Need to Reimagine Education

Grantmakers for Education


February 7, 2:00 pm ET

The Spencer Foundation has teamed up with Phi Delta Kappan to publish a series of thought pieces about the kinds of schools and learning opportunities it may be possible to create in the coming decades. Grantmakers for Education is organizing a series of conversations for our members around the themes being explored and implications for grantmaking. Join funders, researchers, educators, students and advocates in exploring what may be possible and how it could shape your work as a grantmaker.  

Session 1: Why We Need to Reimagine Education 

American education is in a moment of possibility. Though we have been, and continue to be, in immensely challenging times that will have consequential effects on children, families and educators for many years to come, our panelists believe that these times are also creating the desire, the demand, and the readiness for something else. They have created an opening for us to imagine something new. 

The Phi Delta Kappan article related to this session is Possible futures: What might we accomplish in 25 years?

Speakers: Lennon Audrain, Candidate for Phoenix Union Governing Board and PhD Candidate, Arizona State University; Joe Gothard, Superintendent, St. Paul (MN) Public Schools; Na’ilah Suad Nasir, President, Spencer Foundation; Hirokazu Yoshikawa, Courtney Sale Ross Professor of Globalization and Education, New York University.

Moderator: Dr. Joshua Starr, Chief Executive Officer, PDK International 

This virtual learning series is intended for members of Grantmakers for Education and other funders. There is no cost to attend this program. The session will run for one hour. 

About the Presenters

Lennon Audrain

Lennon Audrain
Candidate for Phoenix Union Governing Board; PhD Candidate
Arizona State University

Richard “Lennon” Audrain is a PhD student in educational policy and evaluation in the Mary Lou Fulton Teachers College at Arizona State University. As part of his graduate research assistantship, he conducts research with the Next Education Workforce initiative. Lennon is also a school board candidate for Phoenix Union High School District in Arizona, one of the largest high school districts in the country.

Prior to pursuing his doctorate, Lennon taught Latin, Spanish, and English in both Arizona and Massachusetts. Lennon’s research interests explore teacher recruitment and teacher preparation. In particular, he looks at (1) high school-based grow-your-own teacher programs (e.g., Career and Technical Education programs such as Teacher Academies) and (2) community college teacher education programs. He investigates program design, credentials received from program completion, and articulation to other teacher preparation programs. Lennon earned his first Master’s degree in curriculum and instruction from Arizona State University at age 19 and his second Master’s degree in technology, innovation, and education from the Harvard Graduate School of Education at age 21.

Joe Gothard

Dr. Joe Gothard
St. Paul (MN) Public Schools

Dr. Joe Gothard has been superintendent of Saint Paul Public Schools (SPPS) since July 1, 2017. He is the educational leader of the school district, which serves approximately 35,000 Pre-K-12 students and employs over 5,500 staff. SPPS is the second-largest and most diverse school district in Minnesota, with students who speak more than 125 languages and 70% who are eligible for free or reduced-price lunch.

Gothard believes in the power of public education to foster relationships, build community, and inspire students to achieve beyond their highest expectations. He launched the SPPS Achieves strategic plan in December 2018 to set aspirational and attainable goals for student achievement, guide decision-making, and focus the district’s efforts on long-term student outcomes. Since March 2020, he has led the district’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic while ensuring decisions meet the needs of students and families, prioritize community well-being, champion equity, and are fiscally sustainable.

The Madison, WI native spent nearly 20-years as a teacher, coach, and administrator in the Madison Metropolitan School District. Prior to leading SPPS, Gothard was superintendent of the Burnsville-Eagan-Savage school district in the Twin Cities metro. 

Na’ilah Suad Nasir

Dr. Na’ilah Suad Nasir
Spencer Foundation

Na’ilah Suad Nasir is the sixth President of the Spencer Foundation. Prior to her appointment at Spencer, Nasir held a faculty appointment at the University of California, Berkeley, where she also served as Vice-Chancellor of Equity and Inclusion. Nasir earned her PhD in Education Psychology at UCLA and was a member of the faculty in the School of Education at Stanford University. Her scholarly work focuses on issues of race, culture, learning, and identity. She has authored several books, including recently co-editing the Handbook of the Cultural Foundations of Learning, and has published numerous scholarly articles about the interaction of learning and identity. Nasir is a member of the National Academy of Education and the National Academy of Arts and Sciences. She is president of the American Educational Research Association (AERA) for 2021-2022.

Dr. Joshua Starr

Dr. Joshua Starr
Chief Executive Officer
PDK International

Dr. Joshua P. Starr has been the Chief Executive Officer of PDK International since July 2015. Since then, PDK has relocated its headquarters to Arlington, VA and celebrated 50 years of the PDK Poll and 100 years of Kappan magazine. Under Dr. Starr, PDK has expanded Educators Rising across the nation, including launching Educators Rising Collegiate, increased foundation support for its programs, and renewed support for PDK members and other educator scholars. He is the author of numerous essays, book chapters and op-eds and writes a monthly column, “On Leadership,” for Kappan.

Prior to joining PDK, Dr. Starr was superintendent of schools in Montgomery County Public Schools in Maryland for nearly four years and previously superintendent of schools for Stamford, Conn., for six years. Dr. Starr began his career teaching special education in Brooklyn, N.Y. He became a central office leader in school districts in the NY metropolitan area and served in the New York City Department of Education.

Dr. Starr has a bachelor’s degree in English and History from the University of Wisconsin, a master’s degree in special education from Brooklyn College, and a doctorate in education from the Harvard University Graduate School of Education. Dr. Starr and his wife have three children who have gone through public schools.

Hirokazu Yoshikawa

Dr. Hirokazu Yoshikawa
Courtney Sale Ross Professor of Globalization and Education
New York University

Hirokazu Yoshikawa is the Courtney Sale Ross Professor of Globalization and Education at NYU Steinhardt and a University Professor at NYU. He is also Co-Director (with J. Lawrence Aber) of the Global TIES for Children Center at NYU. He is a community and developmental psychologist who conducts research on programs and policies related to child and youth development in the contexts of immigration, gender and sexuality, early childhood development, and poverty reduction. His work focuses on the United States as well as low- and middle-income countries (currently refugee and humanitarian contexts in the Middle East and South Asia). He is an elected fellow of the National Academy of Education, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and the American Academy of Political and Social Science.


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