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Education policy maven Rick Hess of the American Enterprise Institute think tank offers straight talk on matters of policy, politics, research, and reform. Read more from this blog.

Education Opinion

Introducing Your Special Guest Stars: Sonbert, Harding, King, Buery, Egalite, and Bell

By Rick Hess — July 19, 2018 2 min read

Hi all,

Over the next few weeks, I’ll be taking a summer respite and resting up for what’s sure to be an exhausting fall election season. While I’m gone, we’ve got a stellar lineup of folks who’ve kindly agreed to step in. Here’s who you can look forward to reading over the next few weeks.

First up, next week, will be Michael Sonbert, founder of Skyrocket Educator Training. Readers who perused my Straight Up Conversation with Michael this spring already know that Skyrocket trains teachers and leaders in 300 urban and turnaround schools. Before Skyrocket, Michael worked as a teacher, instructional coach, and director of strategic partnerships with Mastery Charter Schools. Michael will be blogging about some of the insights that have fueled Skyrocket’s work.

Next up, the week of July 30, you’ll hear from longtime reader favorite Heather Harding, who now serves as director of policy and public understanding for education at the Charles and Lynn Schusterman Family Foundation. Previously, Heather worked in various senior roles at Teach for America and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. In her posts, Heather will be discussing how to improve teacher quality as a tool for equity—drawing on her experiences as a scholar, a reformer, and a parent.

The week of August 6, it’ll be Katie King, the director of strategic foresight engagement at KnowledgeWorks, which partners with school systems and communities to support personalized learning. Katie’s background is as a consulting futurist (I hope she talks a bit about what that actually entails!) and as a middle school English teacher in Texas and California. Her posts will sketch possible futures for school reform, and help readers make sense of a shifting landscape.

The week of August 13 will feature Rich Buery, KIPP’s chief of policy and public affairs. Those who read my Straight Up Conversation with Rich earlier this year will recall that he leads efforts to grow the KIPP network and speaks for KIPP on policy issues. Before joining KIPP, Rich served as deputy mayor of New York City under Bill de Blasio, where he led key initiatives including Pre-K for All. He will be writing about KIPP’s work related to higher education, immigration advocacy, and other critical policy conversations.

Anna J. Egalite, assistant professor of leadership and policy at North Carolina State University, will take over for the week of August 20. A former fourth- and fifth-grade teacher, Anna received her Ph.D. at Arkansas and did postdoctoral work at Harvard, before settling at NC State. She’ll be writing about the state of education-leadership research—what we know, where we have good intuitions, and where we’re still very much in the dark.

Wrapping things up the week of August 27 will be Brendan Bell, my uber-talented research assistant. Before coming to AEI, Brendan served in the Alliance for Catholic Education and taught US history and government at Cristo Rey High School in Sacramento. Brendan has written with me about history education, teacher evaluation reform, and the Every Student Succeeds Act. He will be writing about some of the debates surrounding social studies curriculum and teaching methods, while drawing on his experiences working in Catholic education.

I trust you’ll enjoy our lineup of guest stars, and I’ll look forward to being back with you after Labor Day.

The opinions expressed in Rick Hess Straight Up are strictly those of the author(s) and do not reflect the opinions or endorsement of Editorial Projects in Education, or any of its publications.