Dec 12 2022

The Future of Education: Investing in Policy that Transforms Learning

Grantmakers for Education


December 12, 2022, 3:00 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.

Session 7: Investing in Policy that Transforms Learning

Our last session in the series will feature Dr. Linda Darling-Hammond of the Learning Policy Institute, Sophie Fanelli of the Stuart Foundation, and Raymond Pierce of the Southern Education Foundation. We'll focus on policy changes we need for a transformed system of education that centers human development. We'll also dive into a more expansive view of equity than what has been covered in past reform efforts.

The article related to this session is: Possible futures: The policy changes we need to get there, by Linda Darling-Hammond.

While others are welcome to attend, this event is intended for members and education grantmakers.

There is no cost to attend this Grantmakers for Education program. Registration closes 15 minutes prior to the program time. Thank you for your patience; we review each registration in advance.

About the Speakers

Linda Darling Hammod

Dr. Linda Darling-Hammond
President and CEO
Learning Policy Institute

Linda Darling-Hammond is the President and CEO of the Learning Policy Institute. She is also the Charles E. Ducommun Professor of Education Emeritus at Stanford University where she founded the Stanford Center for Opportunity Policy in Education and served as the faculty sponsor of the Stanford Teacher Education Program, which she helped to redesign.

Darling-Hammond is past president of the American Educational Research Association and recipient of its awards for Distinguished Contributions to Research, Lifetime Achievement, and Research-to-Policy. She is also a member of the American Association of Arts and Sciences and of the National Academy of Education. From 1994–2001, she was executive director of the National Commission on Teaching and America’s Future, whose 1996 report What Matters Most: Teaching for America’s Future was named one of the most influential reports affecting U.S. education in that decade. In 2006, Darling-Hammond was named one of the nation’s ten most influential people affecting educational policy. She led the Obama education policy transition team in 2008 and the Biden education transition team in 2020.

Darling-Hammond began her career as a public school teacher and co-founded both a preschool and a public high school. She served as Director of the RAND Corporation’s education program and as an endowed professor at Columbia University, Teachers College. She has consulted widely with federal, state and local officials and educators on strategies for improving education policies and practices. Among her more than 500 publications are a number of award-winning books, including The Right to Learn, Teaching as the Learning Profession, Preparing Teachers for a Changing World, and The Flat World and Education. She received an Ed.D. from Temple University (with highest distinction) and a B.A. from Yale University (magna cum laude).

Sophie Fanelli

Sophie Fanelli
Stuart Foundation

Sophie leads the Stuart Foundation and stepped into her role in 2019 after serving as its Chief of Programs. As President she sets the vision and supports strategies to achieve the Foundation’s aspiration for education systems that improve life outcomes for young people. She was drawn to the Foundation for its clear commitment to changing the odds for equity, and for its conviction that systems can change to far better serve students who have been farthest from opportunity. She is both leader and steward of a long Stuart tradition of listening and learning in pursuit of change.

Sophie has spent her entire career working for social justice as an advocate, a coalition builder, and now in philanthropy. Trained as a lawyer in France, Italy and at the University of Texas, Austin, Sophie came to the Foundation following work on criminal justice issues, which inspired an understanding that well resourced public schools constitute society’s best platform for setting upward youth trajectories at scale and for strengthening an inclusive multiracial democracy. She has served as Director of Research & Policy at the Institute for Democracy, Education, and Access (IDEA) at UCLA, where she oversaw public policy and legislative efforts focused on education equity and access, student and parent engagement, school transformation, and the democratic purpose of education. She also worked at the American Civil Liberties Union of Southern California, where she concentrated on advancing education equity, LGBTQ and immigrant rights, and advocacy for housing and homelessness issues.

She believes the Foundation’s work is most effective when it is closely guided by community needs and voice, and when it is multidisciplinary in nature – employing a range of interconnected approaches including practice, research, advocacy, policy development, storytelling, litigation and organizing.

Daughter of a music critic and social justice activists, Sophie has moved to a lifetime soundtrack of jazz, blues and politics. When not working or arguing about ideas, she can be found playing with her dogs, hiking, cooking, playing tennis, reading, and negotiating what to stream with her partner Deb, a high school teacher, and 16-year-old stepson, Sevan. Sophie serves on the boards of Grantmakers for Education and the National Center for Youth Law. In addition to English, she is fluent in French and Italian.

Raymond C. Pierce

Raymond C. Pierce
President and CEO
Southern Education Foundation

Raymond C. Pierce serves as the President and CEO of the Southern Education Foundation, where he leads the organization’s historic mission of advancing educational opportunities for African American and low-income students in the southern states. Since joining SEF in January 2018, Mr. Pierce has focused the organization on policy research, education legislation, and leadership development.

Prior to joining SEF, Mr. Pierce was Dean of the School of Law at North Carolina Central University. Earlier, Mr. Pierce served as Deputy Assistant Secretary of the U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights as a political appointee in the administration of President Bill Clinton. During that time, Mr. Pierce also served on the White House Domestic Policy Council working group in the development of the Empowerment Zone and related economic and workforce development policies.

Mr. Pierce has also been a partner in the business practices at the law firms of Baker Hostetler and Nelson Mullins, where he represented clients in the steel, energy, transportation, and defense contracting industries. He also represented clients in higher education.

Mr. Pierce is a Visiting Professor of Public Policy and Political Theology at the Duke University Divinity School. He is also a member of the National Math and Science Initiative board of directors. He has served on the Council of Legal Education of the American Bar Association and is a past Vice President of the North Carolina Bar Association. He is a permanent member of the Fourth Circuit Judicial Conference and has served as an appointed member of the North Carolina State Banking Commission.

Mr. Pierce earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in English from Syracuse University, where he also received an officer’s commission in the U.S. Air Force Reserves. He earned a Juris Doctor degree from the Case Western Reserve University School of Law in Cleveland, and a Master of Arts degree from the Duke University Divinity School.


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