School & District Management

Education Pioneers Group Expands Efforts to Groom K-12 Leaders

By Denisa R. Superville — September 22, 2015 3 min read
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Education Pioneers, the Oakland, Calif.-based organization that recruits professionals for leadership and management positions in traditional district schools, charters, and education organizations, is pledging to recruit and train 10,000 education leaders by 2023.

Since its start in 2003, Education Pioneers has recruited about 3,000 individuals with professional backgrounds in areas such as business, law, education, and public policy to work in the education sector in 20 cities, including New York City, Washington, Chicago, and Boston. Seventy-five percent of the fellows are still working in education, according to the group.

The group hopes to bring in 540 fellows this year, but really expects growth to take off in 2017, with the goal of eventually supporting about 1,000 recruits annually, said Scott Morgan, the founder and CEO.

Morgan said the expansion was in response to feedback from the group’s partner organizations and their need for workers year-round not just at the beginning of the school year. The organizations and school systems were seeking candidates for positions in data analysis, operations, and human resources.

Morgan said the group believes that achieving excellence and equity for students require not just great teachers and principals, but also skilled leaders throughout the education enterprise.

The program expansion will allow Education Pioneers to draw thousands more individuals to education and help the districts, charters, and other education organizations fill more long-term and full-time positions and to do so at different starting dates during the year, he said.

The program expansion was announced on Tuesday.

Previously, Education Pioneers offered a 10-week summer fellowship for graduate students. The expansion will offer two tracks, the 10-week summer session, primarily for graduate students, and then another program, a career-track program, with flexible start dates, for those who are interested in long-term and full-time job opportunities in the education sector.

The career-track program, which will include the group’s fellowship for data analysts, is geared toward professionals who desire full-time leadership positions in education or individuals who already work in education but want to take on new leadership roles.

The program will maintain its cohort-based professional development and training component.

“There is an acute need in education for exceptional, diverse leaders and managers who have the skills to lead change within the complex and high-stakes environment of today’s schools, central offices, education non-profits, and more,” Morgan said in the announcement.

In a report published in April 2014, EdFuel predicted that there will be a need for at least 32,000 senior and mid-level workers in the urban education sector over the next decade. Those workers will include people skilled in business, finance, operations, management, data analytics, and communication, according to the report.

It is these types of workers that Education Pioneers is training and placing in school districts, charters schools, and education organizations.

“We need leaders who have the skillset [and] the mindset to analyze data and make good decisions, to allocate scarce resources, including dollars and talent, and to manage people and teams to execute on key initiatives and priorities,” Morgan said Monday.

Morgan said that the organization places a premium on attracting and training racially, ethnically, and socio-economically diverse candidates. The group also seeks diverse professional experience.

At least 50 percent of Education Pioneers’ fellows are individuals of color, and 20 percent of the alumni are among the first generation in their families to graduate from college, he said.

The organization leans heavily on its alumni network to spot talented leaders, but it also recruits at graduate school campuses, including law schools, business schools, and public policy schools, and conferences, including gatherings of the black and Hispanic MBA associations.

Applications go live today for those interested in the 10-week summer program. Another application window opens on Nov. 3 for those interested in the career-track program.

Image Source: MAP the GAP: Confronting The Leadership Talent Gap in The New Urban Education Ecosystem.

A version of this news article first appeared in the District Dossier blog.